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Aaron Sojourner

Associate Professor
Department of Work and Organizations


  • B.A. 1995
    History Yale University

  • M.A. 2003
    Public Policy Analysis University of Chicago

  • Ph.D. 2009
    Economics Northwestern University


  • Labor Economics
  • Consumer finance decisions
  • Labor-market institutions
  • Human Capital
  • Early and K-12 Education Policy

Sojourner is a labor economist and associate professor at the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management.  His research focuses on three areas: (1) effects of labor-market institutions on economic productivity and in politics, (2) policies to promote efficient and equitable development of human capital with a focus on early childhood and K-12 education systems, and (3) behavioral economic approaches to consumer financial decisions. Economic Journal, Journal of Human Resources, Journal of Public Economics, Industrial and Labor Relations Review (ILRR), and Industrial Relations have published his work and he serves on the ILRR international editorial board. His research has earned external grant support totaling almost $800,000. In 2016, he received the John T. Dunlop Scholar Award from the U.S. Labor and Employment Relations Association, which recognizes emerging scholars for outstanding research contributions to issues of national significance. 

Sojourner has a wide range of policy experience and community service. He took leave for the 2016-'17 academic year and spent the year in Washington, D.C. serving as senior economist for labor at the U.S. President’s Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) for Presidents Obama and Trump. The CEA was established in 1946 to offer the president objective economic advice on the formulation of both domestic and international economic policy. Previously, he served on Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges's Cradle-to-K Cabinet advising the city on how to reduce racial disparities through policies affecting children's first 3 years.  He also served as a member of the Human Capital Research Collaborative’s steering committee, a director of Spring Bank, a community bank in the Bronx and Harlem, N.Y, and a fellow in the U.S. Senate’s Labor Policy Office. He is a research fellow at IZA, the leading European labor-economics research institute.

Sojourner completed his Ph.D. in economics at Northwestern University in 2009 and was a pre-doctoral fellow in the university’s Multidisciplinary Program in Education Sciences. He also has an M.A. in public policy analysis from the University of Chicago and a B.A. in history from Yale University.

Selected Works

Budd, J., A. Sojourner, & J. Jung. (2016) "Are Voluntary Agreements Better? Evidence from Baseball Arbitration." Industrial & Labor Relations Review. 70(4): 865-893
Sojourner, A., B. Frandsen, R. Town, D. Grabowski & M. Chen (2015) Impacts of Unionization on Quality and Productivity: Regression Discontinuity Evidence from Nursing Homes. Industrial & Labor Relations Review. 68(4): 771-806.
Hart, C. & A. Sojourner (2015) Unionization and Productivity: Evidence from Charter Schools. Industrial Relations. 55(4): 422-448.
Goda, G., C. Manchester & A. Sojourner (2014), "What Will My Account Really Be Worth? Experimental Evidence on How Retirement Income Projections Affect Saving," Journal of Public Economics. 119: 80-92.
Sojourner, A., E. Mykerezi, & K. West. (2014) Teacher Pay Reform And Productivity: Panel Data Evidence from Adoptions of Q-Comp in Minnesota. Journal of Human Resources. 49(4): 945-981.
Duncan G. & A. Sojourner. (2013) Can Intensive Early Childhood Intervention Programs Eliminate Income-based Cognitive and Achievement Gaps? Journal of Human Resources. 48(4): 945-968.
Sojourner, A. (2013) "Do Unions Promote Electoral Office-Holding? Evidence from Correlates of State Legislatures' Occupational Shares" Industrial and Labor Relations Review. 66(2)
Sojourner, A. (2013) "Identification of Peer Effects with Missing Peer Data: Evidence from Project STAR." Economic Journal. 123(569): 574-605
Sojourner, A., D. C. Grabowski, M. Chen & R. J. Town. (2010) Trends in Unionization of Nursing Homes. Inquiry. 47: 331–342.

Current Activities

Editorial Appointments

  • Member, International Editorial Board, Industrial & Labor Relations Review

Honors and Awards

  • Awardee, John T. Dunlop Scholar (2015) for outstanding academic contributions to research that addresses an industrial relations/employment problem of national significance, Labor & Employment Relations Association

  • Finalist, Paul A. Samuelson Award (2015) for outstanding scholarly writing on lifelong financial security for Goda, Manchester & Sojourner (2014), TIAA Institute

  • Awardee, Faculty Service Award (2017), Carlson School of Management

  • Awardee, Mary and Jim Lawrence Fellow (2017) Carlson School of Management