Over the course of his long career, John Kennan has established himself as a leader in microeconomic theory and labor economics. Much of his work has focused on the application of microeconomic models to firm level interactions and worker behavior, while more recent work reflects a focus on migration decisions and so-called human capital mobility as they relate to fluctuations in wage and welfare.
In 2012, Kennan became the Richard Meese Professor of Economics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he had served as professor of economics since 1992. Previously he held professorships at the University of Iowa, beginning in 1980, and Brown University, starting in 1972. He has held myriad visiting faculty positions at institutions such as Yale University, the University of Melbourne, and Stanford University.
Kennan has been named a Fellow of the Society of Labor Economists and the Econometric Society. He is a member of the American Economic Association, the Society for Economic Dynamics, the Irish Economic Association, and the European Economic Association, as well as the recipient of seven National Science Foundation grants in support of projects undertaken throughout his career. He received a grant from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development in 2004 for his work on the economic and family determinants of migration dynamics.
Kennan’s current professional appointments include positions as a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research and as an affiliate of the University of Wisconsin’s Institute for Research on Poverty. Between 2003 and 2008, He was coeditor of the Journal of Labor Economics.
Kennan earned his PhD from Northwestern University in 1973. He completed his undergraduate studies at University College, Dublin, in his native Ireland, in 1968.