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Robert Lerman

Robert Lerman

Dr. Robert Lerman, a leading expert on how education, employment, and family structure work together to affect economic well-being, is the Urban Institute's first Institute fellow in labor and social policy. He was director of the Institute's Labor and Social Policy Center from 1995 to 2003.

Dr. Lerman was one of the first scholars to examine the factors leading to unwed fatherhood and the effects of early unwed fatherhood on earnings. His work on youth apprenticeships in the late 1980s encouraged the creation of national school-to-work programs. Dr. Lerman's current research focuses on interactions between job and marital stability, the effects of marriage promotion programs, and youth transitions from school to career.

The author of more than 150 articles, monographs, reports, reviews, and conference papers, Dr. Lerman has held dual appointments with the Urban Institute and the economics department at American University since 1995. He chaired the American University department from 1989 to 1995 and continues to be a professor of economics there. Dr. Lerman has served on a variety of panels and commissions, including the National Academy of Sciences panel looking at the nation's postsecondary education and training system for the workplace and the board of the National Fatherhood Initiative. He has testified before congressional committees on such topics as youth apprenticeship, child support policies, and the information technology labor market.

Dr. Lerman earned his doctorate in economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He taught at the University of Pittsburgh (1969-1971) and Brandeis University (1980-1989), where he also served as research director in the Heller School of Social Welfare's Center for Human Resources. He conducted research on social security and housing policy as research associate at the Brookdale Institute of Gerontology in Jerusalem, Israel (1974-1976). His public policy experience includes positions as staff economist with Congress' Joint Economic Committee (1972-1974) and special assistant for youth and welfare policy at the U.S. Department of Labor (1977-1980).

Selected Publications

  • Lerman, Robert and Stephanie R. Cellini,  Demography, Education and the Work Force, Greenwood Press, 2009.
  • Lerman, Robert, “Apprenticeship in the United States: Patterns of Governance and Recent Developments.” In Rediscovering Apprenticeship. Research Findings of the International Network on Innovative Apprenticeship (INAP). Erica Smith and Felix Rauner (Eds.). Springer-Verlag.  2010.
  • Lerman, Robert. “Encouraging Work” in Investing in the Disadvantaged: What We Know, and What We Need to Know, about the Benefits of Social Policies. Edited by David Weimer.  Georgetown University Press.  2009.
  • Lerman, Robert, “Are skills the problem?  Reforming the Education and Training System in the United States” in A Future of Good Jobs.  Edited by Timothy Bartik and Susan Houseman.  Upjohn Institute.  2008.  17-80.
  • Lerman, Robert and Avner Ahituv. "How Do Marital Status, Work Effort, and Wage Rates Interact?" Demography. August 2007. 623-647.
  • Lerman, Robert. 2007. "Career-Focused Education and Training for Youth" in Reshaping the American Workforce in a Changing Economy. Edited by Harry J. Holzer and Demetra Smith Nightingale. Washington, DC: Urban Institute Press.
  • Lerman, Robert. 2003. "U.S. Income Inequality Trends and Recent Immigration." In Inequality, Welfare, and Poverty: Theory and Measurement, vol. 9 of Research on Income Inequality, edited by John A. Bishop (289-307). Amsterdam: Elsevier Science Ltd.
  • Lerman, Robert. 2003. "Is the School-to-Work Movement on the Right Track?" In The School-to-Work Movement: Origins and Destinations, edited by William J. Stull and Nicholas M. Sanders. Westport, CT: Praeger Press.
  • Lerman, Robert, and Elaine Sorensen. 2003. "Child Support: Interactions Between Private and Public Transfers." In Means-Tested Transfer Programs in the U.S., edited by Robert Moffitt. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
  • Lerman, Robert. 1999. "U.S. Wage Inequality Trends and Recent Immigration." American Economic Review: Papers and Proceedings 89(2): 23-28.

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