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Economist Raj Chetty to speak on ‘Creating Equality of Opportunity in America’

Lecture will detail how big data can help combat child poverty and inform policy

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How can we give children from all backgrounds a better chance of succeeding? Harvard economist Raj Chetty will discuss his efforts to study the science of economic opportunity using big data—and to propose scalable policy solutions—as the Winter 2023 Distinguished Public Policy Lecturer at Northwestern University’s Institute for Policy Research (IPR). Register now for his in-person lecture on “Creating Equality of Opportunity in America: New Insights from Big Data” on Monday, February 20, 2023, at 3:30 p.m. CT at the Global Hub, 2211 Campus Dr. on Northwestern University's Evanston Campus.

“Raj Chetty is forging new understanding in how we analyze data and create policy around the issues of economic opportunity and childhood poverty, and I am delighted to welcome him as IPR’s first Distinguished Public Policy Lecturer of 2023,” said IPR Director and economist Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach, the Margaret Walker Alexander Professor of Human Development and Social Policy at Northwestern University. 

The in-person-only lecture is free of charge. Registration is required to attend; space is limited. Information about Global Hub access can be found here. A brief audience Q&A will follow the lecture, and a recording of the lecture will be made available following the event.

View the event's agenda here.

For more information about the event, please email or call 847-491-3395.


Chetty is the William A. Ackman Professor of Public Economics at Harvard University and the Director of Opportunity Insights, a research and policy institute he co-founded in 2018 that uses big data to study the science of economic opportunity.

His research combines empirical evidence and economic theory to help design more effective government policies. His work on tax policy, unemployment insurance, and education has been widely cited in media outlets and congressional testimony. His current research, which he will discuss on February 20, focuses on equality of opportunity: How can we give children from disadvantaged backgrounds a better chance of succeeding?

He received his PhD from Harvard University in 2003 and is one of the youngest tenured professors in its history. He was previously a professor at the University of California at Berkeley and at Stanford University. He has received numerous awards for his research, including the prestigious 2012 MacArthur “genius grant” and the 2013 John Bates Clark medal, given to an economist under 40 each year whose work is judged to have made the most significant contribution to economic thought and knowledge.


IPR Distinguished Public Policy Lectures are given by prominent individuals who can speak to the use of research in policymaking and other issues. Past lecturers have included Atlanta Federal Reserve Bank President and CEO Raphael Bostic; Arthur Brooks, who was president of the American Enterprise Institute at the time; Princeton economist Cecilia Rouse, who currently chairs President Biden’s Council of Economic Advisers; Donna Shalala when she was U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services for President Bill Clinton, and many others. IPR will welcome Yale University social psychologist Jennifer Richeson in spring 2023 as its next distinguished lecturer.

IPR is one of the country’s oldest and most prominent interdisciplinary social science research institutes. The Institute’s more than 160 award-winning faculty are among the top experts in their fields. Using rigorous methods, they conduct innovative, policy-relevant research, tackling some of the nation’s most pressing social issues—from education and inequality to social safety nets and gun violence. IPR faculty experts train policy-minded scholars and doers, and they share their research widely with policymakers, foundations, nonprofits, and the media to support sound policy decisions.

Photo courtesy of R. Chetty.


Published: January 9, 2023.