We analyze the forces that are eroding job quality and labor market opportunities for non-college workers and identify innovative ways to move the economy onto a more equitable trajectory.Meet the Team
The MIT Shaping the Future of Work Initiative is a non-partisan research organization that applies economics research to identify innovative ways to move the labor market onto a more equitable trajectory.
The Initiative’s central focus is revitalizing labor market opportunities for non-college workers. Our scholarship builds on frontier micro- and macroeconomics, economic sociology, political economy, and other disciplines to analyze, interpret, and shape the future of work.
What We Do
We seek to advance policy-relevant economics research that answers key questions about the decline in labor market opportunities for workers who do not have four-year degrees. We currently focus on four main themes.
What We Do
Inform policymakers and the public
We use research to identify innovative options that policymakers, the private sector, and civil society can use to move our economy onto a more equitable trajectory. We help to translate research into practice by convening students, scholars, policymakers, and practitioners who are shaping the future of work.
What We Do
Develop curricula and create opportunities for emerging scholars
We work to fortify and diversify the pipeline of emerging scholars who produce policy-relevant research relating to our core themes. We also develop curriculum and teach courses at MIT.
The MIT Shaping the Future of Work Initiative builds on a long history of research and outreach at MIT, including several major efforts which have helped inspire and inform the development of the MIT Shaping the Future of Work Initiative.
Through its faculty leadership and affiliates program, the new initiative will remain engaged with these ongoing efforts at MIT, bringing together a wider interdisciplinary community devoted to cutting-edge research.
MIT Task Force on the Work of the Future
From 2018 to 2020, an MIT Task Force co-chaired by Professors David Autor (who now co-directs the MIT Shaping the Future of Work Initiative), and David Mindell and Executive Director Dr. Elisabeth Reynolds sought to understand the relationships between emerging technologies and work, to help shape public discourse around realistic expectations of technology, and to explore strategies to enable a future of shared prosperity. It examined a range of issues including how emerging technologies are transforming the nature of human work and the skillsets that will enable humans to thrive in the digital economy; how to catalyze technological innovation in order to augment human potential; and how our civic institutions can ensure that the gains from these emerging innovations contribute to equality of opportunity, social inclusion, and shared prosperity. It produced a range of reports and research briefs.
MIT Industrial Performance Center – Work of the Future Initiative
Task Force member Professor Julie Shah and Dr. Ben Armstrong have continued to pursue related research as part of MIT’s Industrial Performance Center, located in the School of Engineering. Their Work of the Future activities include an Automation Clinic focused on the relationship between technologies and work in manufacturing, and an industry working group on Generative AI and the Work of the Future.
MIT Institute for Work and Employment Research (IWER)
IWER, located at the MIT Sloan School of Management, is a multidisciplinary research and teaching unit that conducts and disseminates cutting-edge research to guide managers in crafting a successful and inclusive future of work in order to improve the lives of workers and their loved ones. IWER has long played a leading role in influencing scholarship and practice related to work, labor and employment relations, diversity in the workplace, technology and analytics, and larger questions of inequality.
Now co-directed by MIT Sloan Professors Emilio J. Castilla and Erin L. Kelly, IWER includes faculty affiliated with MIT Sloan and a range of other parts of MIT, including the Department of Economics, Political Science, and Urban Studies and Planning. IWER’s areas of focus include a weekly research seminar, a rigorous and interdisciplinary PhD program, and research projects. Learn more about IWER’s mission, current IWER faculty projects, and Good Jobs Resources.
Shaping Work of the Future
MIT Sloan Professor Thomas A. Kochan has led a series of initiatives at MIT over the last decade, with a focus on calling attention to the need for a new social contract at work and for engaging workers in current and future technological changes to build a more inclusive economy and broadly shared prosperity. Among other areas of work, Kochan has taught an MITx online course on Shaping Work of the Future and published the book Shaping the Future of Work: A Handbook for Action and a New Social Contract jointly with Lee Dyer.
Meet the Team
Automation, Inequality, and Productivity · Growing Regional Disparities · Changing Rent-Sharing in the Economy · Determinants of Job QualityDaron Acemoglu
Growing Regional Disparities · Determinants of Job Quality · Automation, Inequality, and Productivity · Changing Rent-Sharing in the EconomySimon Johnson
Changing Rent-Sharing in the Economy · Growing Regional Disparities · Automation, Inequality, and Productivity · Determinants of Job QualityDavid Autor
Policy and Communications FellowGavin Alcott
Automation, Inequality, and ProductivityCaroline Chin
Research AssociateBrandon Enriquez
Research FellowJuanita Jaramillo
Policy and Communications FellowAustin Lentsch
Director, Workforce InitiativesKathryn Moffat
Program Manager, Workforce Initiatives and Policy ImpactsJulia Regier
Research FellowBrenda Wu
Research FellowCan Yeşildere
UBS Foundation Professor of Globalization and Labor Markets, University of Zurich; Research Affiliate, MIT Shaping the Future of Work InitiativeDavid Dorn
Provost Professor of Economics, University of Massachusetts Amherst; Research Affiliate, MIT Shaping the Future of Work Initiative
Changing Rent-Sharing in the EconomyArindrajit Dube
Silverman (1968) Family Career Development Associate Professor of Economics, MIT; Chief Executive Officer, IZA Institute of Labor Economics; Research Affiliate, MIT Shaping the Future of Work InitiativeSimon Jäger
Associate Professor, Boston University; Research Affiliate, MIT Shaping the Future of Work InitiativePascual Restrepo
Assistant Professor, MIT Department of Economics; Executive Director, Hub for Equal Representation, LSE; Research Affiliate, MIT Shaping the Future of Work InitiativeNina Rousille
Instituut Gak Endowed Professor, Utrecht University’s School of Economics; Research Affiliate, MIT Shaping the Future of Work Initiative
Automation, Inequality, and ProductivityAnna Salomons
Class of 1948 Career Development Assistant Professor and Assistant Professor of Work and Organization Studies, MIT Sloan School of Management; Research Affiliate, MIT Shaping the Future of Work InitiativeAnna Stansbury
Ford Professor of Political Science, MIT; Research Affiliate, MIT Shaping the Future of Work InitiativeKathleen Thelen
John Van Reenen
Ronald Coase School Professor at the London School of Economics; Digital Fellow, Initiative for the Digital Economy at the Massachusetts Institute for Technology (MIT); Research Affiliate, MIT Shaping the Future of Work Initiative
Growing Regional Disparities · Changing Rent-Sharing in the EconomyJohn Van Reenen
Sarofim Family Career Development Associate Professor of Work and Organizations, MIT Sloan; Research Affiliate, MIT Shaping the Future of Work InitiativeNathan Wilmers
PhD in Economics
Work With Us
Curious about what it’s like to work with the Shaping the Future of Work Initiative? Learn more about how to join our team.