Kathryn Shaw

Professor, Economics
(650) 725-4168

Kathryn Shaw

The Ernest C. Arbuckle Professor of Economics

Senior Fellow, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research
Academic Area:

Research Statement

Kathryn Shaw’s most recent research focuses on managing talent in high performance organizations. She studies how firms attract and build star talent in the software industry and in a wide range of knowledge-intensive industries. More broadly, Professor Shaw studies how companies can achieve measurable rates of return from investing in human resource management practices that are aimed at improving the performance of workers or teams of workers. She is identified as a co-developer of the field of “insider econometrics,” in which researchers use internal “inside” company data to study the performance gains from practices such as teamwork and incentive pay.


Kathryn Shaw is The Ernest C. Arbuckle Professor of Economics at Stanford Graduate School of Business. Previously, Shaw was the Ford Distinguished Research Chair and Professor of Economics at the business school at Carnegie Mellon University. She completed her PhD in economics at Harvard University in 1981. Professor Shaw served as a senate-confirmed member of President Clinton’s Council of Economic Advisers, 1999–2001, and has been an editor of the Journal of Labor Economics.

In recent work, Shaw evaluates the importance of bosses in improving the productivity of their subordinates. She (and her co-authors) show that a good boss can markedly improve his subordinate’s productivity now and into the future as the worker moves on. Shaw has also developed an interest in entrepreneurship, showing that serial entrepreneurs develop intangible capital that they take with them as they move from their first firm to a new more productive firm. In earlier work that has been published in the American Economic Review, and Management Science, she and her colleagues evaluate the effectiveness of complementary teamwork practices in the steel industry. She has also focused on the performance gains from new information technologies and the changes in management strategy towards product customization that enhance returns to investment. In related work on incentives in franchising, she shows how the optimal use of franchise contracts can increase brand value for franchise companies. Her research has been extensively funded by the National Science Foundation, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the Russell Sage and Rockefeller Foundations, and the Department of Labor.

In 2001, Shaw received the Columbia University award for the best paper on international business, and in 1998, she was honored as the recipient of the Minnesota Award for Employment Research for the best paper in 1997–98 on the topic of employment issues. She held a Stanford Graduate School of Business Trust Faculty Fellow in 2005-2006. She has been the recipient of the Xerox Research Chair, has served on a research panel of the NSF, and was an editor of the Review of Economics and Statistics. At Carnegie Mellon University, Shaw received the award for Sustained Teaching Excellence, the Economics Department Teaching Award, was chair of the Faculty Senate, and was head of the Department of Industrial Management.

Academic Degrees

  • PhD, Economics, Harvard University, 1981
  • AB, Economics & Mathematics, Occidental College, 1976

Academic Appointments

  • At Stanford University since 2003
  • Visiting Professor, University of London, Spring 2019
  • Visiting Professor, MIT Sloan, Fall 2018
  • Visiting Professor, IZA, May 2014
  • Visiting Professor, University of Paris, December 2009
  • Ford Distinguished Research Chair, Professor of Economics, Tepper School of Business, Carnegie Mellon University, 2002–03
  • Professor of Economics, Graduate School of Industrial Administration, Carnegie Mellon University, 1997–2003
  • Associate Professor of Economics with Tenure, Graduate School of Industrial Administration, Carnegie Mellon University, 1994–97
  • Associate Professor of Economics, Graduate School of Industrial Administration, Carnegie Mellon University, 1989–1994
  • Assistant Professor of Economics, Graduate School of Industrial Administration, Carnegie Mellon University, 1981–89

Professional Experience

  • Council of Economic Advisors, Executive Office of the President, Member (Senate Confirmed, June 2000), 1999-2001
  • Affiliated Faculty, Heinz School of Public Policy, Carnegie Mellon University, 1996-2003
  • Department Head, Industrial Management Department, 1987–90
  • Department Head, Economics Department (Acting), 1989
  • Visiting Economist, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve, 1984–86
  • Assistant Head Tutor in Economics, Harvard University, 1978–81
  • Research Staff Economist, Center for Policy Alternatives, MIT, 1977–79

Awards and Honors

  • Michelle R. Clayman Faculty Fellow for 2021–22
  • BP Faculty Fellow in Global Management, Stanford GSB, 2020–2021
  • Honorary Doctorate, Maastricht University, 2019
  • Co-lead (with Edward Lazear), Personnel Economics group, NBER, 2007-present
  • Trust Faculty Fellow, Stanford GSB, 2011–2012
  • Fellow, Society for Labor Economics, 2008
  • Trust Faculty Fellow, Stanford GSB, 2005–2006
  • Special Award for Sustained Teaching Excellence, Economics Department, Carnegie Mellon University, 2003
  • Teaching Award Commendation, Carnegie Mellow University Business School, 2002
  • Best Paper on International Business, Columbia University, 2001
  • Teaching Award Commendation, Carnegie Mellow University Business School, 2000
  • Teaching Award Commendation, Carnegie Mellow University Business School, 1999
  • Minnesota Award for Best Paper on employment Institutions, 1998
  • Xerox Research Chair, GSIA, Carnegie Mellon University, 1992–1993
  • Teaching Award, Carnegie Mellow University, Department of Economics, 1992
  • Harvard University Graduate Student Fellowship, 1976–1979
  • Phi Beta Kappa, Magna cum laude, Departmental honors in Economics, 4.0 Graduate in Mathematics, Occidental College, 1976
  • Valedictorian, Verdugo Hills High School, 1972


Journal Articles

Stanford Case Studies

Conferences, Talks & Speaking Engagements

Conference Committee Society of Labor Economics 2015
Distinguished Alumni Speaker, Occidental College 125th Year, 2012
Distinguished Women in Economics, Washington University, 2012
Keynote Speaker, Society of Labor Economists, 2012
Guest Lecturer, University of Paris, Science P-O, "What do CEOs Do?", 2009
Adam Smith Lecture, European Labor Economics Association, 2008
Keynote Address, Conference on Education, Training and the Evolving Workplace, TARGET, Vancouver, CanaDAM, 2006
Bertha Leigh Memorial Lecture, Washington State University, 2005
Slaon Industry Studies, Keynote Address, Atlanta, 2004
National Defense University, University Address, Washington DC, 2004
Conference Co-Organizer, NBER Personnel and Labor Studies, Summer Institute, July 24-25, 2014
Conference Co-Organizer, NBER Personnel and Labor Studies, Summer Institute, July 27-28, 2013
Conference Co-Organizer, NBER Personnel and Labor Studies, Summer Institute, July 26-27, 2012
Conference Co-Organizer, NBER Personnel and Labor Studies, Summer Institute, July 28-30, 2011
Conference Co-Organizer, NBER Personnel and Labor Studies, Summer Institute, July 27-30, 2010
Conference Organizer, NBER Personnel and Labor Studies, Summer Institute, July 26-30, 2009
Conference Organizer, NBER Personnel and Labor Studies, Summer Institute, July 30-31, 2008
Conference Organizer, NBER Personnel and Labor Studies, Summer Institute, July 29-30, 2007
Conference Co-Organizer and Sponsor, Conference on Firms and Employers, Ammersee, Germany, September 2006
Conference Organizer, NBER Summer Institute, Personnel Economics, Cambridge, July 28, 2006
Conference Co-Organizer, International Differences in the Business Practices and Productivity of Firms, Stanford University,2005
Conference Co-Organizer, “21st Century Human Resource Management Practices and Their Effects on Firms and Workers,”,2005

Stanford GSB Affiliations

  • South Africa MBA Study Trip Committee 2014
  • University Committee on Graduate Studies 2013–present
  • University Committee on Faculty Staff Human Resources 2013–present
  • Data Center Report Committee 2011–2012
  • Management-X Committee 2011–2012
  • Kenya MBA Study Trip Committee 2012
  • Academic Coordinating Committee 2010–present
  • Faculty Liason GSB Student Newspaper 2010–2011
  • University Committee on Evaluation of Human Resources 2009–2010
  • Committee on Faculty Staff Human Resource 2007–2009
  • Co-Director Stanford GSB Summer Institute 2004–present
  • Philippines MBA Study Trip Committee 2006

Service to the Profession


  • Research Associate, National Bureau of Economic Research(NBER), 1995–present
  • Research Fellow, IZA, 2012–present
  • Research Fellow, Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR), 2004–2018
  • Research Fellow, Center for Corporate Performance (CCP), Denmark, 2004–2015

Editorial and Professional Panel

  • Board Member, Society for Labor Economics, 2013–present
  • Editor, IZA World of Work, personal Finance, 2012–present
  • STEP Board, National Academy of Science, 2011–present
  • Editorial Advisory Board Member, Journal of Economic Perspectives, 2008–2010
  • Outside Review Panel, Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkeley, 2009
  • The Conference Board, Evidence-Based HR Research Working Group, 2007–2009
  • Bennett Award Committee (chair), AEA, CSWEP, 2008–2009
  • Mincer Award Committee, Society of Labor Economists, 2006–2008
  • John Dunlop Award Committee, Labor and Employment Relations Associations, 2006–2008
  • Associate Editor, Review of Economics and Statistics, 2003–2011
  • Editor(Associate), Journal of Labor Economics,1999, 2001–2008
  • Outside Review Panel, Management and Strategy, Kellogg School, Northwestern University, 2006
  • Outside Review Panel, Economics Research Department, Chicago Federal Reserve, 2005
  • NSF Advisory Panel, 1997–1999, 2001–2003
  • American Compensation Association, Academic Research Committee, 1997–1999, 2001–2003
  • IRRA, Labor Economics Subsection, co-chair,1996–1999
  • Associate Editor, Journal of Regional Science, 1994–1997

Research Grants

  • Smith Richardson Foundation, April 2014–December 2016, $257,565
  • Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, January 2003–2009, $1,000,000
  • Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, January 2003–December 2005, $90,000
  • Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, Officers’ Planning Grant, June 2002–December 2002 $45,000
  • Russell Sage Foundation, August 1999–September 2002, $300,000
  • Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, June 1994–December 2002, $700,000
  • National Science Foundation, January 1995–April 1999, $350,000
  • Department of Labor, October 1994–August 1997, $76,000
  • National Science Foundation, October 1993–October 1995, $98,000
  • Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, June 1991–June 1994. Award to project I headed, about $216,000
  • W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, January 1991–June 1992, $30,000
  • National Science Foundation, June 1987–anuary 1989, $27,000
  • Social Impact of Information and Robotics Technology, 1983–1984, $20,000
  • Doctoral Dissertation Grant, US Department of Labor, 1980–1981

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