hero image
Gordon  Hanson, Ph.D. - UC San Diego. La Jolla, CA, US

Gordon Hanson, Ph.D. Gordon  Hanson, Ph.D.

Professor; Pacific Economic Cooperation Chair in International Economic Relations; Director, Center on Global Transformation | UC San Diego


Gordon Hanson’s current research addresses how trade with China has affected the U.S. labor market.



Gordon  Hanson, Ph.D. Publication Gordon  Hanson, Ph.D. Publication Gordon  Hanson, Ph.D. Publication Gordon  Hanson, Ph.D. Publication Gordon  Hanson, Ph.D. Publication Gordon  Hanson, Ph.D. Publication




Gordon Hanson - 2011 Chancellor's Associates Faculty Excellence Award Geo4Dev Conference 2017: Gordon Hanson, UC San Diego US Labor Market Adjustment to China Trade Shocks IR/PS Professor Gordon Hanson interview




Hanson holds the Pacific Economic Cooperation Chair in International Economic Relations at UC San Diego, and has faculty positions in the Department of Economics and the School of Global Policy and Strategy (GPS), where he also is director of the Center on Global Transformation. He is a professor at the School and is presently a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and co-editor of the Journal of Economic Perspectives. He is a past co-editor of the Review of Economics and Statistics and the Journal of Development Economics. Hanson authored "Regulating Low-Skilled Immigration in the United States" in 2010.

Hanson received his Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1992 and his B.A. from Occidental College in 1986. Prior to joining UC San Diego in 2001, he served on the economics faculty of the University of Michigan and the University of Texas. Hanson specializes in international trade, international migration and economic geography. He has published extensively in the top academic journals of the economics discipline, is widely cited for his research by scholars from across the social sciences and is frequently quoted in major media outlets. Hanson’s current research addresses how trade with China has affected the U.S. labor market and how U.S. local labor markets adjust to immigration. Through the Big Pixel Initiative, he is developing methodologies for using satellite imagery to assess the local economic consequences of expanding transportation networks, exposure to extreme weather events, and the opening or closure of major manufacturing facilities.

Areas of Expertise (5)

International Trade International Migration Economic Geography Development Economics Labor Economics

Accomplishments (3)

Max Corden Lecture, University of Melbourne


Independent Task Force on the Future of Work, Council on Foreign Relations

2017 - 2018

Seiji Naya Lecture, University of Hawaii


Education (2)

Massachusetts Institute of Technology: Ph.D., Economics

Occidental College: A.B., Economics

Affiliations (4)

  • Council on Foreign Relations
  • Journal of Economic Perspectives
  • Big Pixel Initiative
  • Center on Global Transformation

Media Appearances (7)

What’s in Trump’s proposed trade deal with Mexico?



The change is intended to promote auto production in North America, but it could have the unintended consequence of making it harder for the U.S. and Mexico to import auto parts the countries don’t produce themselves, said Gordon Hanson, the director of the Center on Global Transformation at the University of California, San Diego.

“You’re not going to be able to make all the parts for any sophisticated manufacturing product in any given country,” Hanson said. “That’s just not the way the global economy works anymore.”...

view more

Migrants Are on the Rise Around the World, and Myths About Them Are Shaping Attitudes

The New York Times  


Consider Africa. As Gordon Hanson and Craig McIntosh of the University of California, San Diego, have noted, immigration across the Mediterranean may soon come to look like the vast flows of people who in the 1990s streamed across the Rio Grande...

view more

4 reasons slashing the trade gap with China won't boost the U.S.

CBS News  


"All the trade deficit tells us is whether we are consuming more than we are producing or producing more than we are consuming. That's it," said Gordon Hanson, a professor of economics at the University of California San Diego. "It's about our decision on how much we save and how much we spend. All the negotiations with China in the world are not going to move U.S. savings around."...

view more

Marriage, Fertility, and Blue-Collar Male Employment

National Review  


In a new study, MIT’s David Autor, University of Zurich’s David Dorn, and UC–San Diego’s Gordon Hanson show that a decrease in blue-collar employment can lead to “a decline in marriage and fertility, an increase in the fraction of mothers who are unmarried and who are heads of single, non-cohabiting households, and a growth in the fraction of children raised in poverty.”...

view more

One Year Into Trump’s Presidency, Border Wall Remains A Question



“He can't build the wall without Congress’ help. Congress has to authorize funding," said Gordon Hanson, an economics professor at UC San Diego...

view more

Migrants Are on the Rise Around the World, and Myths About Them Are Shaping Attitudes

New York Times  

"Consider Africa. As Gordon Hanson and Craig McIntosh of the University of California, San Diego, have noted, immigration across the Mediterranean may soon come to look like the vast flows of people who in the 1990s streamed across the Rio Grande."

view more

Help Workers Without a Trade War

WSJ  online


view more

Articles (5)

Personality traits of entrepreneurs: A review of recent literature Foundations and Trends in Entrepreneurship

Sari Pekkala Kerr, William R Kerr, Tina Xu


We review the extensive literature since 2000 on the personality traits of entrepreneurs. We first consider baseline personality traits like the Big-5 model, self-efficacy and innovativeness, locus of control, and the need for achievement. We then consider risk attitudes and goals and aspirations of entrepreneurs. Within each area, we separate studies by the type of entrepreneurial behavior considered: entry into entrepreneurship, performance outcomes, and exit from entrepreneurship. This literature shows common results and many points of disagreement, reflective of the heterogeneous nature of entrepreneurship. We label studies by the type of entrepreneurial population studied (eg, Main Street vs. those backed by venture capital) to identify interesting and irreducible parts of this heterogeneity, while also identifying places where we anticipate future large-scale research and the growing depth of the field are likely to clarify matters. There are many areas, like how firm performance connects to entrepreneurial personality, that are woefully understudied and ripe for major advances if the appropriate cross-disciplinary ingredients are assembled.

view more

Using Landsat and nighttime lights for supervised pixel-based image classification of urban land cover Remote Sensing of Environment

Ran Goldblatt, Michelle F Stuhlmacher, Beth Tellman, Nicholas Clinton, Gordon Hanson, Matei Georgescu, Chuyuan Wang, Fidel Serrano-Candela, Amit K Khandelwal, Wan-Hwa Cheng, Robert C Balling


Reliable representations of global urban extent remain limited, hindering scientific progress across a range of disciplines that study functionality of sustainable cities. We present an efficient and low-cost machine-learning approach for pixel-based image classification of built-up areas at a large geographic scale using Landsat data. Our methodology combines nighttime-lights data and Landsat 8 and overcomes the lack of extensive ground-reference data. We demonstrate the effectiveness of our methodology, which is implemented in Google Earth Engine, through the development of accurate 30 m resolution maps that characterize built-up land cover in three geographically diverse countries: India, Mexico, and the US. Our approach highlights the usefulness of data fusion techniques for studying the built environment and is a first step towards the creation of an accurate global-scale map of urban land cover over time.

view more

When work disappears: Manufacturing decline and the falling marriage-market value of young men IZA Discussion Papers

David Dorn, Gordon H Hanson


We exploit the gender-specific components of large-scale labor demand shocks stemming from rising international manufacturing competition to test how shifts in the relative economic stature of young men versus young women affected marriage, fertility and children's living circumstances during 1990-2014. On average, trade shocks differentially reduce employment and earnings of young adult males. Consistent with Becker's model of household specialization, shocks to male's relative earnings reduce marriage and fertility. Consistent with prominent sociological accounts, these shocks heighten male idleness and premature mortality, and raise the share of mothers who are unwed and the share of children living in below-poverty, single-headed households.

view more

High-skilled immigration and the rise of STEM occupations in US employment Education, Skills, and Technical Change: Implications for Future US GDP Growth

Gordon H Hanson, Matthew J Slaughter


In this paper, we document the importance of high-skilled immigration for U.S. employment in STEM fields. To begin, we review patterns of U.S. employment in STEM occupations among workers with at least a college degree. These patterns mirror the cycle of boom and bust in the U.S. technology industry. Among younger workers, the share of hours worked in STEM jobs peaked around the year 2000, at the height of the dot-com bubble. STEM employment shares are just now approaching these previous highs. Next, we consider the importance of immigrant labor to STEM employment. Immigrants account for a disproportionate share of jobs in STEM occupations, in particular among younger workers and among workers with a master’s degree or PhD. Foreign-born presence is most pronounced in computer-related occupations, such as software programming. The majority of foreign-born workers in STEM jobs arrived in the U.S. at age 21 or older. Although we do not know the visa history of these individuals, their age at arrival is consistent with the H-1B visa being an important mode of entry for highly trained STEM workers into the U.S. Finally, we examine wage differences between native and foreign-born labor. Whereas foreign-born workers earn substantially less than native-born workers in non-STEM occupations, the native-foreign born earnings difference in STEM jobs is much smaller. Further, foreign-born workers in STEM fields reach earnings parity with native workers much more quickly than they do in non-STEM fields. In non-STEM jobs, foreign-born workers require 20 years or more in the U.S. to reach earnings parity with natives; in STEM fields, they achieve parity in less than a decade.

view more

Why does immigration divide America?: public finance and political opposition to open borders UC San Diego Working Papers

Gordon H Hanson


In this manuscript, I consider the interplay between public finance and U.S. immigration policy. Immigration is making the U.S. population larger and more ethnically diverse and the U.S. labor force more abundant in low-skilled labor. One consequence of these changes has been lower wages for low-skilled U.S. workers. More generally, the benefits and costs of immigration appear to be distributed quite unevenly. Capital owners, land owners, and employers capture most of the benefits associated with immigration, which they enjoy in the form of higher factor returns. Taxpayers in high immigration U.S. states shoulder most of immigration’s fiscal costs, which they bear in the form of higher taxes that go to pay for public services used by immigrant households. On net the economic impact of immigration on the United States is small. However, small net changes in national income mask potentially large changes in the distribution of income. These distributional changes appear to be an important ingredient in how individuals form opinions about immigration policy.

view more