The concern that technological progress may harm a substantial fraction of workers presents a paradox of abundance. The paradox is that the threat to social welfare posed by technological change is the threat of excess rather than the threat of scarcity.
David Autor is Ford Professor of Economics and Associate Head of the MIT Department of Economics, and Faculty Research Associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research. He is also Director of the NBER Disability Research Consortium and Co-Director of the MIT School Effectiveness and Inequality Initiative. His research analyzes the labor market impacts of technological change and globalization, earnings inequality, and disability insurance and labor supply. Autor is an elected Fellow of the Econometrics Society, the Society of Labor Economists, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He received an NSF Career award, an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellowship, the Sherwin Rosen Prize for outstanding contributions in the field of Labor Economics, and numerous teaching awards, including MIT’s James A. and Ruth Levitan Award for excellence in teaching. Autor earned a B.A. in Psychology from Tufts University and a Ph.D. in Public Policy from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government in 1999. Prior to graduate study, he spent three years directing computer skills education for economically disadvantaged children and adults in San Francisco and South Africa. Autor is the captain of the MIT Economics hockey team, which is reputed to be one of the most highly cited teams in the MIT intramural league.