Charles T. Clotfelter

Charles T. Clotfelter

Professor in the Department of Economics

External Address: 
236 Sanford Building, Box 90245, Durham, NC 27708
Internal Office Address: 
Box 90245, Durham, NC 27708
(919) 613-7361

Charles Clotfelter is Z. Smith Reynolds Professor of Public Policy and Professor of Economics and Law at Duke University, where he has taught since 1979.  He is also a research associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research. His major research interests are in the economics of education, the nonprofit sector, and public finance.

He is the author of Unequal Colleges in the Age of Disparity (Harvard University Press, 2017), Big-Time Sports in American Universities (Cambridge University Press, 2011), After Brown: The Rise and Retreat of School Desegregation(Princeton University Press, 2004), Buying the Best: Cost Escalation in Elite Higher Education (Princeton University Press, 1996), and Federal Tax Policy and Charitable Giving (University of Chicago Press, 1985). He is also coauthor (with Philip Cook) of Selling Hope: State Lotteries in America (Princeton University Press, 1989) and has coauthored or edited five other books pertaining to higher education and the nonprofit sector. He was co-winner of the Gladys M. Kammerer prize, awarded by the American Political Science Association for the best political science publication in the field of U.S. national policy in 2004, forAfter Brown: The Rise and Retreat of School Desegregation. In 2011, he was selected to give the Spencer Foundation Award Lecture at the meetings of the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management. In 2015 he was elected to the National Academy of Education.

Clotfelter received a B.A. from Duke University in 1969, where he majored in history, summa cum laude, and he received a Ph.D. in economics from Harvard University in 1974. Before coming to Duke, he taught at the University of Maryland, spending his last year there on leave at the U.S. Treasury’s Office of Tax Analysis. While at Duke, he has served as vice provost for academic policy and planning, vice chancellor, vice provost for academic programs, and associate dean of academic programs at the Sanford School of Public Policy. He has also served as president of the Southern Economic Association. During the 2005/06 year he was a Visiting Scholar at the Russell Sage Foundation. During the 2013/14 year he was a fellow at the Straus Institute for the Advanced Study of Law and Justice, at the N.Y.U. School of Law.

He was born in Birmingham, Ala., and grew up in Atlanta, Ga.


  • Ph.D., Harvard University 1974

Clotfelter Charles, T. “The Detroit Decision and 'White Flight'.” Journal of Legal Studies 5 (January 1976): 99–112.

Clotfelter, C. “Public Spending for Higher Education: An Empirical Test of Two Hypotheses.” Public Finance 31 (1976): 177–95.

Feldstein, M., and C. Clotfelter. “Tax incentives and charitable contributions in the United States. A microeconometric analysis.” Journal of Public Economics 5, no. 1–2 (January 1, 1976): 1–26. Full Text

Brinner, C., E. Roger, and T Clotfelter Charles. “An Economic Appraisal of State Lotteries.” National Tax Journal 29 (December 1975): 395–404.

Clotfelter Charles, T. “The Effect of School Desegregation on Housing Prices.” Review of Economics and Statistics 57 (November 1975): 446–51.

Clotfelter Charles, T. “Spatial Rearrangement and the Tiebout Hypothesis: The Case of School Desegregation.” Southern Economic Journal 42 (October 1975): 263–71.

Clotfelter Charles, T. “Memphis Business Leadership and the Politics of Fiscal Crisis.” West Tennessee Historical Society Papers 27 (1973): 33–49.

Ladd, Helen F., Charles T. Clotfelter, and John B. Holbein. “The Growing Segmentation of the Charter School Sector in North Carolina.” Education Finance and Policy 12, no. 4 (n.d.): 536–63.

Clotfelter, Charles T., Helen F. Ladd, and Jacob L. Vigdor. “Are Teacher Absences Worth Worrying About in the U.S.?,” n.d.

Clotfelter, Charles T., Helen F. Ladd, and Jacob L. Vigdor. “The Academic Achievement Gap in Grades 3 to 8,” n.d.