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In the News

Professor Hersch's article "Can the Media Solve the Problem of Sexual Harrassment?" (Georgetown Journal of International Affairs, March 1, 2018) was featured in the Research News at Vanderbilt piece "Companies have little incentive to fight workplace sexual harassment, Vanderbilt economist explains." (March 1, 2018)

Professor Hersch was appointed to the Cornelius Vanderbilt Chair at a ceremony on October 23, 2018, in recognition of her groundbreaking research. She becomes the first law school professor to hold the Cornelius Vanderbilt Chair. Read more at Vanderbilt Law School News(November 27, 2017)

MarketWatch: How stay-at-home moms can get credit for diaper changes on their résumésA New York City ad agency has invented a fictional company called The Pregnancy Pause — complete with logo, website, and phone number — that women can list on their résumés as their “employer” during the time they spend away from work raising kids. Women who have a résumé gap and don’t explain it are far less likely to get hired than those who do explain the gap, according to a study co-authored by Jennifer Bennett Shinall, assistant professor of law, and Professor Hersch. Shinall is quoted in the article. (June 22, 2017)

Combining a liberal-arts major with a STEM or business degree typically doesn’t increase earnings or job satisfaction, according to Professor Hersch’s paper, “The Private and Social Benefits of Double Majors,” coauthored with Alison Del Rossi. Professors Hersch and Del Rossi discuss their research on double majors with the Wall Street Journal in the article, “Does It Pay to Double Major?” (February 14, 2017)

CBS News: Does ‘bro’ culture spark sexual harassment?  While sexual harassment can occur in any industry or company, some traits tend to be associated with higher rates of abuse. Industries that are male-dominated, such as technology, and companies where both upper- and middle-management ranks are filled by men are more likely to be places where sexual harassment occurs. Professor Hersch is quoted. (April 10, 2017)

In October 2016, Professor Hersch contributed an opinion piece on workplace sexual harassment, "What Can Be Done to Reduce Workplace Sexual Harassment?," for IZA World of Labor. (October 10, 2016)

Professor Hersch's paper, "Something to Talk About: Information Exchange Under Employment Law," coauthored with Jennifer Bennett Shinall, was featured in the New York Times article, "A Child Care Gap in the Résumé: Whether to Explain or Not." The paper, which is forthcoming in the University of Pennsylvania Law Review, examines information exchange in the hiring process. (May 19, 2016)

Their research on this topic has received international media attention. [Featured at Research News @Vanderbilt] [Read at Bloomberg] [Read at Slate] [Listen at NPR On Point] [Read at Motto] [Read at The Economic Times] [Read at DailyMail.Co.UK] [Read at Business Standard] [Read at] [Read at] [Read at Glamour] [Read at Marie Claire]

Professor Hersch's article "Sexual Harassment in the Workplace," (IZA World of Labor 188, October 2015, 1-10) is featured in 'What Does the Evidence Tell Us About Sexual Harassment in the Workplace?' on (October 15, 2015)

The sexual harassment rates of women in various industries, that were reported in Professor Hersch's IZA article, were cited in The Guardian article, "Sexual Harassment at Work: More than Half of Claims in US Result in No Charge." (July 22, 2016)

Professor Hersch was interviewed by IZA Press about color discrimination in the U.S. She was appointed Editor of the IZA Journal of Labor Economics in July 2015 and has been an IZA Research Fellow since April 2015. Read the interview on IZA Newsroom and view her IZA profile here. (August 14, 2015)

Professor Hersch's working paper "Catching Up Is Hard to Do: Undergraduate Prestige, Elite Graduate Programs, and the Earnings Premium" was most recently featured in the LA Times's article "What Will Bachelor's Degrees from Community Colleges be Worth?" (February 4, 2015)

Professor Hersch's working paper "Catching Up Is Hard to Do: Undergraduate Prestige, Elite Graduate Programs, and the Earnings Premium" is featured on  Research News at Vanderbilt  and on (November 14, 2014)

The paper was also featured in the New York Times's article 'Why You Can't Catch Up.' (August 1, 2014)

Professor Hersch was nominated for the 2014 Rosabeth Moss Kanter Award for Excellence in Work-Family Research. She received the nomination for her 2013 paper "Opting Out among Women with Elite Education." [Read at VLS Faculty News] (July 25, 2014)

Professor Hersch's paper "Opting Out among Women with Elite Education," (Review of Economics of the Household 11(4), December 2013, 469-506) is cited in The Atlantic's article 'In China, it's the Grandparents Who "Lean In."' The paper received international media attention throughout the spring and summer of 2013. [Read at] [Read at] [Read at] [Read at] [Read in Cosmopolitan] [Read at] [Read at DailyMail.Co.UK] [Read at] [Read at Bloomberg Businessweek] [Read at Boston Globe] [Read at US News & World Report] (September 30, 2013)

Using 2003 and 2010 data, Professor Hersch has compiled new tables that supplement the statistics on female labor force activity by tier of undergraduate institutions reported in "Opting Out among Women with Elite Education." [Download supplementary tables] [Download institutions classified by tier]

Professor Hersch was one of two recipients of the 2013 Mentoring Award, presented by Vanderbilt University's Margaret Cunningim Women's Center. (March 21, 2013)

Professor Hersch's paper "Opting Out among Women with Elite Education" is garnering substantial media attention. [Read at] [Read at] [Read at] [Read at] [Read in Cosmopolitan ] [Read at] [Read at DailyMail.Co.UK] [Read at] [Read at Bloomberg Businessweek ] [Read at The Boston Globe ] [Read at US News & World Report ] (April-June 2013)

Professor Hersch was named the FedEx Research Professor for AY 2012-2013. This honor is bestowed upon a senior member of the law faculty each year in recognition of productivity in research. (July 2012)



Hersch writes about launching Vanderbilt's Ph.D. Program in Law & Economics

June 2012

Professor Hersch writes about "Starting a New Interdisciplinary PhD Program" in the Summer 2012 edition of the American Economic Association's Committee on the Status of Women in the Economics Profession Newsletter.


Hersch's findings on skin color discrimination featured in Wall Street Journal India

April 2012

Wall Street Journal India cites Professor Hersch's research on skin color discrimination for immigrants to the US in "Economics Journal: Is Fairer Skin Really ‘Better’?"


Hersch's findings on skin color discrimination featured in National Geographic

April 2012

National Geographic cites Professor Hersch's research on skin color discrimination for immigrants to the US in "Has India’s Skin-Lightening Obsession Reached the Final Frontier?" by Dan Morrison.


Hersch discusses her work on sexual harassment in a podcast

March 2012

Professor Hersch examines the relationship between pay and the likelihood of experiencing sexual harassment in a podcast. [Listen to Inside Higher Ed: Academic Minute: Sexual harassment and pay]


Hersch's work on higher pay for the risk of sexual harassment featured in The Toronto Star

December 2011

Professor Hersch discusses her finding of higher pay for the risk of sexual harassment. [Read "Sexual Harassment in the Same League as Injury and Death When it Comes to Danger Pay: Study" by Francine Kopun in The Toronto Star]


Hersch's work on compensating differentials for the risk of sexual harassment featured in The Washington Post and MSNBC

November 2011

Professor Hersch discusses her finding of higher pay for the risk of sexual harassment.[Read "The Risk of Sexual Harassment Can Mean a Bigger Paycheck" in The Washington Post] [Read "Where Harassment is Higher, So Are Salaries" on]


Hersch discusses "The Bias against the Unemployed" in The New York Times' Room for Debate

July 2011

Professor Hersch joins the debate on a New Jersey law that prohibits employers from barring unemployed workers from applying for jobs. [Read the New York Times discussion] [Download Professor Hersch's segment]


Hersch and Viscusi release study on job risks and wage compensation for immigrant workers

October 2010

Professors Hersch and Viscusi find that Mexican immigrants work in jobs with higher fatality risks and receive little wage compensation for these risks. Non-Mexican immigrants face similar labor market conditions as U.S. natives. [Read more]


Hersch Writes on Sexual Harassment for CSWEP

May 2009

Learn what constitutes sexual harassment and what you can do about it if you are experiencing sexual harassment in the workplace. Read Professor Hersch's article for the Committee on the Status of Women in the Economics Profession (CSWEP) Newsletter, "Sexual Harassment."


Hersch and the EEOC's E-RACE Initiative

Professor Hersch's findings on skin color discrimination have been closely followed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and her work has been cited in support of the launch and continuation of their E-RACE Initiative. [Read the remarks of Robert A. Canino at the E-RACE Initiative Launch Meeting in 2007] [Read the Digest of EEO Law, Vol XX, No. 3, 2009]


Hersch on SSRN

Professor Joni Hersch is a leading contributor to the Vanderbilt Law & Economics Working Paper Series on SSRN. New additions include:


Hersch now Associate Editor of REHO

April 2009

Professor Hersch is now an Associate Editor of the peer-reviewed journal  Review of Economics of the Household .


Hersch on Nashville Public Radio

April 2009

Professor Hersch was interviewed by Nashville Public Radio's Rachel Allen regarding her work on the effect of home production on wages.


Hersch in The Boston Globe

June 2008

Professor Hersch's paper "Double Your Major, Double Your Return?" coauthored with Alison Del Rossi and forthcoming in the Economics of Education Review, is cited in the Ideas section of The Boston Globe .


The Vanderbilt Lawyer features the Ph.D. Program in Law and Economics

November 2007

The Vanderbilt Lawyer alumni publication (Vol. 36, No. 1) features the official launch of the Ph.D. Program in Law and Economics as well as Co-directors W. Kip Viscusi and Joni Hersch and the program's first class of students.


Study by economist Joni Hersch reveals that lighter and taller equals a bigger paycheck for immigrants

January 2007

A new study by Vanderbilt University Professor of Law and Economics Joni Hersch found legal immigrants in the United States with a lighter skin tone made more money than those with darker skin.

Professor Hersch used data from 2,084 men and women who participated in the 2003 New Immigrant Survey. An interviewer reported the person’s skin color using an 11-point scale where 0 represented the absence of color and 10 represented the darkest possible skin color.

Even when taking into consideration characteristics that might affect wages, such as English language proficiency, work experience and education, Professor Hersch found immigrants with the lightest skin color earned, on average, 8 percent to 15 percent more than immigrants with the darkest skin tone. She said the effect of skin color even persisted among workers with the same ethnicity, race and country of origin.

Professor Hersch’s research also found height played a part in salary. Taller immigrants earned more, with every inch adding an additional 1 percent to wages.

Professor Hersch considered various explanations for skin color’s effect on wages, such as discrimination in country of birth, the possibility that darker skin color is caused by outdoor work, which is lower paying, and interviewer bias. After ruling out those explanations, she concluded that discrimination is the strongest explanation for why lighter and taller immigrants make more money.

"I was surprised and dismayed at how strong and persistent the skin color effect was even after I considered a whole series of alternative interpretations and explanations," she said.

Professor Hersch will present her research at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) conference on Feb. 19. -- Story by Amy L. Wolf, Vanderbilt University Public Affairs

Read the Associated Press-syndicated story at the  New York Times.

Read it at the  Washington Post .