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., S. W. Hemelt, and H. F. Ladd. “Raising the bar for college admission: North Carolina’s increase in minimum math course requirements.” Education Finance and Policy 14, no. 3 (July 1, 2019): 492–521. Full Text

Brint, S., and C. T. Clotfelter. “Overview of the volume.” Rsf 2, no. 1 (April 1, 2016): 38–40. Full Text

Brint, S., and C. T. Clotfelter. “U.S. Higher education effectiveness.” Rsf 2, no. 1 (April 1, 2016): 2–37. Full Text

Clotfelter, C. T., H. F. Ladd, C. Muschkin, and J. L. Vigdor. “Developmental education in North Carolina community colleges.” Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis 37, no. 3 (January 1, 2015): 354–75. Full Text

Clotfelter, C. T., H. F. Ladd, C. G. Muschkin, and J. L. Vigdor. “Success in Community College: Do Institutions Differ?Research in Higher Education 54, no. 7 (November 1, 2013): 805–24. Full Text

Berube, M., G. S. Brown, C. Clotfelter, M. W. Finkin, C. R. Nelson, C. Newfield, D. D. Wood, D. M. Rabban, R. G. Ehrenberg, and J. E. Kurland. “The role of the faculty in conditions of financial exigency.” Academe 99, no. 4 (July 1, 2013): 120–47.

Clotfelter, Charles T., Helen F. Ladd, and Jacob L. Vigdor. “New destinations, new trajectories? The educational progress of Hispanic youth in North Carolina.Child Development 83, no. 5 (September 2012): 1608–22. Full Text

Clotfelter, C. T. “After 'Brown': The rise and retreat of school desegregation.” After “Brown”: The Rise and Retreat of School Desegregation, October 16, 2011.

Clotfelter, C. T., H. F. Ladd, and J. L. Vigdor. “Teacher Mobility, school Segregation, and Pay-Based policies to level the playing field.” Education Finance and Policy 6, no. 3 (June 1, 2011): 399–438. Full Text

Clotfelter, C. T., H. F. Ladd, and J. L. Vigdor. “Teacher credentials and student achievement in high school: A cross-subject analysis with student fixed effects.” Journal of Human Resources 45, no. 3 (January 1, 2010): 655–81. Full Text


Clotfelter, C. T. “Milliken and the prospects for racial diversity in U.S. public schools.” In The Pursuit of Racial and Ethnic Equality in American Public Schools: Mendez, Brown, and Beyond, 315–37, 2014.

Clotfelter, C. “Comments.” In Collective Decision Making: Applications from Public Choice Theory, 11:196–98, 2013. Full Text

Clotfelter, C. “Patron or Bully? The Role of Foundations in Higher Education.” In Reconnecting Education & Foundations: Turning Good Intentions Into Educational Capital, 211–48. Jossey-Bass, 2007.

Clotfelter, C. T. “Gambling Taxes.” In Theory and Practice of Excise Taxation: Smoking, Drinking, Gambling, Polluting, and Driving, 2005. Full Text

Ladd, H. F., C. T. Clotfelter, and J. B. Holbein. “The growing segmentation of the charter school sector in North Carolina,” October 1, 2017. Full Text

Clotfelter, Charles T., Helen F. Ladd, and Jacob L. Vigdor. “Algebra for 8th Graders: Evidence on its Effects from 10 North Carolina Districts,” December 2012.

Clotfelter, C., H. Ladd, and J. Vigdor. “How and Why Do Teacher Credentials Matter for Student Achievement?,” 2007.

Clotfelter, Charles T., and Philip J. Cook. “The Demand for Lottery Products,” April 1989.

Clotfelter, C. T., H. F. Ladd, and J. L. Vigdor. “Classroom-level segregation and resegregation in North Carolina,” 70–86, 2009.

Clotfelter, C. “Is Sports in Your Mission Statement?” The Chronicle of Higher Education, October 24, 2010. Open Access Copy

Clotfelter, C. “80 years of trade-offs in college sports.” The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, November 27, 2009. Open Access Copy

Clotfelter, C., and C. Cook, Philip J. “What if the Lottery were Run for Lottery Players?” Raleigh News and Observer, March 1, 2007. Open Access Copy

Clotfelter, C., C. Ladd, Helen, and C. Vigdor, Jacob. “Surprising Success Among Hispanic students.” Duke Today, June 12, 2006. Open Access Copy

Clotfelter, C. “The Decline of Diversity in Our Schools.” The Washington Post, May 15, 2004. Open Access Copy

Clotfelter, C., and E. Chemerinsky. “Abandoning the Promise.” Baltimore Sun, 2007.

Clotfelter, C., and E. Chemerinsky. “The Death of Segregation.” News & Observer, 2007.

Selected Grants

Center for Analysis of Longitudinal Data in Education Research - CALDER awarded by American Institutes for Research (Co Investigator). 2013 to 2018

Exploring the Linkages Between Post-Secondary School and Labor Market Success awarded by American Institutes for Research (Co Investigator). 2011 to 2014

An Analysis of State Lotteries awarded by National Gambling Impact Study Commission (Principal Investigator). 1998 to 1999