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, C. T. “Who are the alumni donors? Giving by two generations of alumni from selective colleges.” Nonprofit Management and Leadership 12, no. 2 (January 1, 2001): 119–38. Full Text

Clotfelter, C. T. “Are whites still fleeing? Racial patterns and enrollment shifts in urban public schools, 1987-1996.” Journal of Policy Analysis and Management 20, no. 2 (January 1, 2001): 199–221. Full Text

Clotfelter, C. T. “Public school segregation in metropolitan areas.” Land Economics 75, no. 4 (January 1, 1999): 487–504. Full Text

Clotfelter, C. T. “The familiar but curious economics of higher education: Introduction to a symposium.” Journal of Economic Perspectives 13, no. 1 (January 1, 1999): 3–12. Full Text

Clotfelter, Charles T., and Philip J. Cook. “Notes: The “Gambler's Fallacy” in Lottery Play.” Management Science 39, no. 12 (December 1993): 1521–25. Full Text

Clotfelter, Charles T. “The Private Life of Public Economics.” Southern Economic Journal, April 1993, 579–96.

Clotfelter, C. T., and P. J. Cook. “Lotteries in the real world.” Journal of Risk and Uncertainty 4, no. 3 (July 1, 1991): 227–32. Full Text

Cook, Philip J., and Charles T. Clotfelter. “The Peculiar Scale Economies of Lotto,” July 1991.

Clotfelter, K. W., T. Charles, and J Cook Philip. “What Kind of Lottery for North Carolina?Popular Government 56 (March 1991): 25–29.