Ashenfelter's research, contained in countless journal articles, spans an array of topics, primarily, but not exclusively, in labor economics. His early work led to the development of rigorous methods for the quantitative evaluation of social programs. Among methods he has developed is the use of "natural" experiments to infer causality, such as using twins to control for genetic factors that may confound the estimation of the effect of schooling. Some of his recent work has focused on auction markets, such as those for wine and art. His upcoming talk at the Athenaeum will focus on the "problems and pitfalls" of "measuring the value of a statistical life." In this work he uses mandated speed limits to infer something about the value of life.
The department of economics annual presentation of awards will immediately precede Professor Ashenfelter's lecture.