Martin Carnoy

Short Biography & Significant Contribution

After graduating from Caltech with a B.S. in electrical engineering and the University of Chicago with a Ph.D. in economics, Martin Carnoy worked at the Brookings Institution for four years, writing on Latin American trade and development. In 1969, he went to the School of Education at Stanford, where he helped build the International and Comparative Education Program. In addition to his academic career, Carnoy ran the DC primary for the Robert Kennedy campaign in 1968. Over two decades later, in 1984, he was the Democratic candidate for Congress in California's 12th congressional district, and years later organized economists for Clinton in California in 1992 and 1996.

In the arena of academia, Professor Carnoy is a labor economist with a special interest in the relation between the economy and educational system. More specifically, he researches the US labor market in relation to the role of race, ethnicity, and gender, and the education systems in the US as well as in other countries. He uses a comparative approach to analyze how education impacts productivity and economic growth; thus, he focuses on the particulars associated with longitudinal educational systems change, and factors bearing on why some countries' educational systems excel in student performance in comparison to others'. Carnoy also has delved into other education issues, including the impact of vouchers and charter schools on educational quality, teacher preparation and salaries across countries, and more broadly, the influence of economic inequity on educational quality. For example, Carnoy conducted comparative studies on the quality of education in Latin America and Southern Africa-assessing teacher knowledge in mathematics, filming classrooms and assessing student performance. Another such case of research included initiating major projects to study changes in university financing and the quality of engineering and science tertiary education in China, India, and Russia.

Carnoy has written more than 30 books, along with dozens of articles and chapters on economic issues, racial inequality, and education policy. Moreover, he has published extensively on issues related to education and economic development, the political economy of the United States, the role of the state in social change, and the changing international economy. In his authoring, Carnoy often partners with other world class scholars in the field such as Derek Shearer, Russell Rumberer, Henry Levin, Joel Samoff, Carlos A. Torres, M. Castells, S. Cohen, F.H. Cardoso, and Jane Hannaway, among others. Stretching into the field of practice, he also regularly writes for international organizations such as the ILO, UNESCO, the Inter-American Development Bank, the OECD, and the World Bank. Carnoy is also the editor of the International Encyclopedia of the Economics of Education (1995), and of recent, occasionally writes blog posts for the Huffington Post on educational issues.

Prof. Carnoy continues to actively serve on several prominent committees, boards and in offices, including president (2004-2005) of the Comparative and International Education Society <>, AERA Governing Board (2008-2009), and member of the National Academy of Education, among others. He regularly teaches classes in comparative and international education, including courses on: Race, Education and Media (Ed141/241); Introduction to Comparative and International Education; Education and Economic Development (for syllabus click here); Vouchers and Choice in Education; The State and Educational Policy.

Stanford University School of Education Faculty Website
Stanford International Comparative Education Program Faculty Website
Huffington Post

Faculty Website

Educational Background

PhD (Economics), University of Chicago, 1964;

MA (Economics), University of Chicago, 1961;

BS (Electrical Engineering), California Institute of Technology, 1960

Professional Background

Stanford University - School of Education
- Since 1969 
- Assistant Professor of Education and Economics (1968-1971); 
- Associate Professor of Education and Economics (1971-1977); 
- Professor of Education and Economics (1977 - ).

Research Associate in Economics, Foreign Policy Division, The Brookings Institute (1964-1968).

Consultant to World Bank, Inter-American Development Bank, Asian Development Bank, UNESCO, IEA, OECD, UNICEF, International Labour Office.

Affiliations (associations, organizations, institutions)

Comparative and International Education Society - U.S.

American Educational Research Association

National Academy of Education

Social Studies & Educational Practice Committee, Stanford School of Education

Selected Publications

* Faded Dreams (1994)

* Globalization and Educational Reform What Planners Need to Know (2000).

* Sustaining Flexibility: Work, Family, and Community in the Information Age (2001);

* All Else Equal: Are Private and Public Schools Different? (2002(;

* The New Accountability: High Schools and High Stakes Tests (2003);

* The Charter School Dust-Up (2005);

* Cuba's Academic Advantage (2007);

* Vouchers and Public School Performance (2007).


Created: 9/24/2008

Updated: 12/4/2012

Contributed By: Anon