Aaron Sojourner


Sojourner works on the role of institutions and policies in changing the balance of power between labor and capital in labor markets.

Sojourner is a labor economist and associate professor at the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management. His research focuses on (1) effects of labor-market institutions, (2) policies to promote efficient and equitable development of human capital with a focus on early childhood and K–12 education systems, and (3) behavioral economic approaches to consumer finance decisions. His work has been published in the Proceedings of the National Academies of Science, Economic Journal, Journal of Human Resources, Journal of Public Economics, ILR Review, Industrial Relations, Journal of Policy Analysis & Management, and other journals, and he serves on the ILR Review international editorial board.

Sojourner has a wide range of policy and community service experience. He is a member of the Minnesota State Advisory Council on Early Childhood Care and Education. He spent the 2016-’17 academic year in Washington, DC serving as senior economist for labor on the Council of Economic Advisers (CEA), for Presidents Obama and Trump. Previously, he served on Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges’s Cradle-to-K Cabinet advising the city on how to reduce racial disparities through policies affecting children’s first three years. He also served as a member of the Human Capital Research Collaborative’s steering committee; as a director of Spring Bank, a community bank in the Bronx and Harlem; and as a fellow in the Senate’s Labor Policy Office. 

Sojourner is a research fellow at IZA, the leading European labor-economics research institute, and a visiting scholar at the Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank. He completed his PhD in economics at Northwestern University in 2009 and was a pre-doctoral fellow in the university’s Multidisciplinary Program in Education Sciences. He also has an MA in public policy analysis from the University of Chicago and a BA in history from Yale University.