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About the Author(s)

Robert Fairlie is a professor of economics at the University of California, Santa Cruz and an NBER research associate affiliated with the Economics of Education and Productivity, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship Programs. He is a regular participant in the Entrepreneurship Working Group and Economics of Education meetings, and plans on participating in the new Race and Stratification in the Economy Working Group.

Fairlie’s research interests include entrepreneurship, education, racial inequality, information technology, labor economics, and immigration. Recent research projects explore questions around causes and consequences of racial inequality, barriers to business creation and growth, whether technology helps students, constraints in higher education, whether there have been disproportionate impacts of COVID-19 by race and gender, and water conservation policy.

Fairlie received his PhD and MA from Northwestern University and BA with honors from Stanford University. He has held visiting positions at Stanford, Yale University, UC Berkeley, and Australian National University. He has received funding for his research from numerous government agencies and foundations and has testified to the US Senate, US House of Representatives, the Department of Treasury, and the California State Assembly regarding the findings of his research, and received a joint resolution of appreciation from the California legislature. He is regularly contacted by major news media to comment on economic, small business, inequality and policy issues.


1. The Impact of COVID-19 on Small Business Owners: Evidence of Early-Stage Losses from the April 2020 Current Population Survey,” Fairlie R. NBER Working Paper 27309, June 2020. Published as “The Impact of COVID-19 on Small Business Owners: Evidence from the First Three Months after Social-Distancing Restrictions,” Journal of Economics & Management Strategy 29(4), Winter 2020, pp. 727–740.   Go to ⤴︎
2. The Impacts of COVID-19 on Minority Unemployment: First Evidence from April 2020 CPS Microdata,” Fairlie R, Couch K, Xu H. NBER Working Paper 27246, May 2020. Published as “Early Evidence of the Impacts of COVID-19 on Minority Unemployment,” Journal of Public Economics 192, December 2020.   Go to ⤴︎
3. The Impact of COVID-19 on Small Business Owners: Evidence of Early-Stage Losses from the April 2020 Current Population Survey,” Fairlie R. NBER Working Paper 27309, June 2020. The findings from this paper were cited in deliberations of the US Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship and used to justify policy responses providing assistance to minority and small businesses during the pandemic. “Cardin, Cantwell, Schumer, Booker, Cortez Masto & Harris Introduce Legislation to Invest in Minority-Owned Businesses,” press release, office of Cardin B. “Governor Newsom Signs Bills to Support Small Businesses Grappling with Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic, Bolster Economic Recovery,” press release, State of California, Office of the Governor.   Go to ⤴︎
5. Race and Entrepreneurial Success: Black-, Asian-, and White-Owned Businesses in the United States, Fairlie R, Robb A. Cambridge: MIT Press, 2008. “Why Are Black-Owned Businesses Less Successful than White-Owned Businesses? The Role of Families, Inheritances, and Business Human Capital,” Fairlie R, Robb A. Journal of Labor Economics 25(2), April 2007, pp. 289–323.   Go to ⤴︎
6. Racial Inequality in Business Ownership and Income,” Fairlie R. Oxford Review of Economic Policy 34(4), Winter 2018, pp. 597–614.   Go to ⤴︎
7. Black and White: Access to Capital among Minority-Owned Startups,” Fairlie R, Robb A, Robinson D. NBER Working Paper 28154, November 2020.   Go to ⤴︎
8. Mexican Entrepreneurship: A Comparison of Self-Employment in Mexico and the United States,” Fairlie R, Woodruff C. NBER Working Paper 11527, August 2005, and in Mexican Immigration to the United States, Borjas G, editor. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2007.   Go to ⤴︎
9. The International Asian Business Success Story? A Comparison of Chinese, Indian and Other Asian Businesses in the United States, Canada and United Kingdom,” Fairlie R, Zissimopoulos J, Krashinsky H. In International Differences in Entrepreneurship, Lerner J, Schoar A, editors, pp. 179–208. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2010.   Go to ⤴︎
10. The Effect of Immigration on Native Self-Employment,” Fairlie R, Meyer B. NBER Working Paper 7561, February 2000, and Journal of Labor Economics 21(3), July 2003, pp. 619–650.   Go to ⤴︎
11. Behind the GATE Experiment: Evidence on Effects of and Rationales for Subsidized Entrepreneurship Training,” Fairlie R, Karlan D, Zinman J. NBER Working Paper 17804, August 2012, and American Economic Journal: Economic Policy 7(2), May 2015, pp. 125–161.     Go to ⤴︎
12. The Impact of City Contracting Set-Asides on Black Self-Employment and Employment,” Chatterji A, Chay K, Fairlie R. NBER Working Paper 18884, March 2013, and Journal of Labor Economics 32(3), July 2014, pp. 507–561.   Go to ⤴︎

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