2009 – Katharine Abraham

5th Annual W.J. Usery Distinguished Lecture

“What We Don’t Know Could Hurt Us: Some Reflections on the Measurement of Economic Activity”

Dr. Katharine Abraham

Dr. Katharine Abraham

The Andrew Young School of Policy Studies and The Usery Center hosted the fifth W.J. Usery Distinguished Lecture on March 12, 2009. The guest speaker for the lecture was Dr. Katharine Abraham (pictured at right), Professor in the Joint Program in Survey Methodology; Adjunct Professor in the Department of Economics; and Faculty Associate in the Population Research Center, all at the University of Maryland. The seminar by Dr. Abraham was held in the Andrew Young School’s seminar room (7th Floor, AYS Building, 14 Marietta Street, NW).  Before the lecture, there was  “coffee and conversation” with Dr. Abraham outside the 5th floor conference room (AYS Building), open to all students, faculty and staff.  The lecture is now available at AYSPS on iTunesU.

Katharine Abraham is former Commissioner of the Bureau of Labor Statistics (1993-2001) and a leading researcher on the measurement and analysis of economic activity.  Her research has centered on the measurement and analysis of time use in market and non-market activities. Recent work examines non-response in the time use surveys, labor market barriers for older women, college enrollment effects of a tuition assistance program, and the rewards to occupational job skills. Early in her career, Abraham coauthored classic papers on vacancies and unemployment and on how wages rise relative to productivity over a worker’s tenure, the latter work triggering an important theoretical and empirical literature exploring the factors associated with wage growth within firms.

Abraham is Professor in the Joint Program in Survey Methodology; Adjunct Professor in the Department of Economics; and Faculty Associate in the Population Research Center, all at the University of Maryland, and a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research. Prior to her years as BLS Commissioner, Abraham was on the economics faculty at MIT and the University of Maryland and a research associate at the Brookings Institution. She chairs the Committee on Economic Statistics of the American Economic Association, is a board member on the AEA’s Committee on the Status of Women in the Economics Profession, and has been a member or chair on two National Research Council Committees on National Statistics.

Additional information on Katharine Abraham is available at http://www.popcenter.umd.edu/mprc-associates/kabraham