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John Haltiwanger Ph.D.

John Haltiwanger, Ph.D.

Distinguished University Professor

3101 Tydings Hall
College Park , Maryland 20742
Office Phone: 301-405-3504


  1. Brown University, Sc.B. (Applied Mathematics-Economics), 1977.
  2. The Johns Hopkins University, Ph.D. (Economics), 1981.


Recent Accomplishments

Over the past seven years, Haltiwanger has been actively engaged in development of new longitudinal matched employer-employee databases at the Census Bureau. As part of the Longitudinal Employer Household Dynamics (LEHD) program, he has linked household and business level datasets at the micro level. The core of the methodological approach is to use administrative data for the universe of businesses and households as a crosswalk between Census household and business level data. Such administrative data also are valuable in their own right as they permit development of new data products and allow creation of new measures such as comprehensive lifetime earnings and employment histories for all individuals. A series of papers explore the measurement of human capital, and the connection between changing technology and the evolution of human capital within and across businesses. The relationships between wages, employment and technology are of vital importance in understanding the nature and changes in economic inequality. In addition, the new micro databases at the LEHD program at Census can be used by researchers to analyze a variety of questions including the changing demand for older workers, the consequences of welfare-to-work programs on the economic outcomes for individuals and businesses, and the role of transitions to and from self-employment in the career paths of workers and in the business formation dynamics of young and small businesses. A new book published by the University of Chicago Press, Economic Turbulence: The Impact on Workers, Firms and Economic Growth by Clair Brown, John Haltiwanger and Julia Lane is one of the key studies that has emerged from the LEHD program. The study includes the analysis of the impact of economic turbulence on literally millions of worker histories and associated career paths for workers and job ladders for firms. The findings suggest that although turbulence imposes short-run costs, in the long-run, job change leads to improved jobs for most workers. The evidence does not support the popular notion that “low-wage workers churn from bad job to bad job?–not even in retail food, where many workers leave the industry for better jobs. This recent work builds on prior work with the CES at Census where (along with his co-authors Steven Davis and Scott Schuh in the pioneering work published by MIT Press, Job Creation and Destruction), Haltiwanger developed the methodology for measures of job creation and destruction that are now produced by the federal statistical agencies on a quarterly and annual basis. These statistics provide a rich new perspective on the churning of jobs in the U.S. economy.

Funded Research

Haltiwanger is the principal investigator on multiple grants from the NSF including grants entitled "Aggregate and Individual Behavior: Bringing Theory and Empirics Together" and "Plant-level Prices, Productivity Measurement and Industry Dynamics." His work with the LEHD and CES micro data is also currently supported by the National Institute of Aging and the Kaufmann Foundation. He has a pending R01 grant at NICHD entitled "The Role of Firms in Immigrant Assimilation and Labor Market Adjustment (with Seth Sanders).

Future Plans

Haltiwanger will continue his work with CES and LEHD, turning attention to immigration questions. Using the linked employer-employee data, Haltiwanger is investigating the role of firms in immigrant assimilation. He is also asking how firms respond to a steady supply of immigrants and whether firm adjustments mitigate the negative consequences of immigration on native born workers. Finally, the matching of administrative data to demographic survey data allows Haltiwanger to construct a microdata file on immigrants who have a high probability of being undocumented in the U.S. This enables the study of how legal status affects job choice in the U.S. In addition to the work on immigration, Haltiwanger will continue his work with CES on firm dynamics focusing on business formation. This latter work complements the work with LEHD and on immigration since a key issue in the study of immigration is the impact on business formation.