Richard Murnane
Research Associate


  • Business of education
  • Research and methodology
  • Teacher compensation
  • Workforce development

Richard Murnane, an economist, is the Thompson research professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research. With Greg Duncan, Murnane has examined the respects in which the growth in family income inequality in the U.S. has affected educational opportunities for children from low-income families and the effectiveness of alternative strategies for improving life chances for these children. This project has resulted in two major publications: the 2011 edited volume, “Whither Opportunity,” and the 2014 book, “Restoring Opportunity.” One of Murnane’s current research projects (with Stanford sociologist Sean Reardon) examines whether trends in the use of different types of private schools by low- and higher-income families contributed to the recent increase in income-based gaps in educational outcomes.  Another (with John Willett and Emiliana Vegas) examines how changes in the system of educational vouchers in Chile have influenced the distribution of students across schools and the distribution of student achievement.