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Laurence Ales - Carnegie Mellon University. Pittsburgh, PA, US

Laurence Ales

Associate Professor | Carnegie Mellon University


Laurence Ales' research interests include macroeconomics, optimal taxation, and contract theory.


Laurence Ales' research focuses on the study of inequality and the design of tax policy. His recent work studies the impact that future disruptive technologies will have on labor markets and determines the best response of policy makers. His work also explores optimal taxation, especially of the very wealthy.

Areas of Expertise (7)

Disruptive Technologies

Tax Policy


Optimal Taxation


Contract Theory

Labor Markets

Media Appearances (4)

Why can’t the Fed just burn some money to stop inflation?

Marketplace.org  online


The Fed can get money back in two ways, said Laurence Ales, an associate professor of economics at Carnegie Mellon University. One is by selling you something, like Treasuries. These are loans that you are making to the government in return for interest payments.

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Five industries affected by automation right now

Yahoo Finance  online


Amazon’s huge scale makes robotics a tempting proposition. “We find that large firms are more likely to automate low- to middle-skill tasks. The reason for this is that a large retailer such as Amazon can keep a machine busy and use it to its full potential, something that a smaller retailer cannot,” explains Laurence Ales, associate professor of economics at Carnegie Mellon University's Tepper School of Business.

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Time for Tax Cuts? ‘Trickle-down Economics’ Vs. ‘spillover Effects’

American Enterprise Institute  online


One perspective can found over at the American Economic Association blog where Chris Fleisher features a Q&A with Carrnegie Mellon University economists Laurence Ales and Christopher Sleet. Their recent American Economic Review paper argues that the the marginal tax rate on top earning CEOs should be closer to 20% vs. the current top tax rate of 40%.

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Student Studies State Pandemic Policies, Consumer Behaviors

Carnegie Mellon University News  online


Laurence Ales, an associate professor of economics and director of Undergraduate Research in Economics, is advising Xu. Last summer Xu worked with Ales through the Summer Undergraduate Research Apprenticeship program where he helped translate Chinese regional economic data to U.S. standards.

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Laurence Ales: What is the Impact of Technology on Factory Workers? Emerging Markets Undergraduate Course with Laurence Ales



Industry Expertise (3)



Writing and Editing

Accomplishments (3)

Christopher Freeman and Richard R. Nelson Prize (professional)


Richard M. Cyert Award for Excellence in Teaching (professional)

2023 Tepper School of Business, Carnegie Mellon University

Favorite MBA Professors Of The Class Of 2021 (professional)

2021 Poets & Quants

Education (3)

University of Minnesota: Ph.D., Economics 2008

University of Minnesota: M.S., Economics 2007

University of Rome – Tor Vergata: B.S., Physics 2002

Affiliations (2)

  • Macroeconomic Dynamics : Associate Editor
  • Carnegie-Rochester-NYU Conference on Public Policy : Advisory Board Member

Languages (2)

  • English
  • Italian

Event Appearances (3)

How It’s Made: A General Theory of the Labor Implications of Technological Change

2020 US Census  

How It’s Made: A General Theory of the Labor Implications of Technological Change

2021 SED  Minneapolis, MN

Optimal Taxation of Income-Generating Choice

2020 Econometric Society World Congress  Zoom

Articles (5)

Optimal Taxation of Income-Generating Choice


2022 Discrete location, occupation, skill, and hours choices of workers underpin their incomes. This paper analyzes the optimal taxation of discrete income-generating choice. It derives optimal tax equations and Pareto test inequalities for mixed logit choice environments that can accommodate discrete and unstructured choice sets, rich preference heterogeneity, and complex aggregate cross-substitution patterns between choices.

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Innovation Tournaments with Multiple Contributors

Production and Operations Management

2020 This study examines innovation tournaments in which an organizer seeks solutions to an innovation-related problem from a number of agents. Agents exert effort to improve their solutions but face uncertainty about their solution performance. The organizer is interested in obtaining multiple solutions—agents whose solutions contribute to the organizer’s utility are called contributors.

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Innovation and Crowdsourcing Contests

Sharing Economy

2019 In an innovation contest, an organizer seeks solutions to an innovation-related problem from a group of independent agents. Agents, who can be heterogeneous in their ability levels, exert efforts to improve their solutions, and their solution qualities are uncertain due to the innovation and evaluation processes.

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Optimal Award Scheme in Innovation Tournaments

Operations Research

2017 In an innovation tournament, an organizer solicits innovative ideas from a number of independent agents. Agents exert effort to develop their solutions, but their outcomes are unknown due to technical uncertainty and/or subjective evaluation criteria. To incentivize agents to make their best effort, the organizer needs to devise a proper award scheme.

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Taxing Top CEO Incomes

American Economic Review

2016 We use a firm-CEO assignment framework to model the market for CEO effective labor. In the model's equilibrium, more talented CEOs match with and supply more effort to larger firms. Taxation of CEO incomes affects the equilibrium pricing of CEO effective labor and, hence, spills over and affects firm profits.

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