Portrait of Morris Kleiner
Social Policy Area
Areas of Expertise
Public policies on work and pay; role of labor unions in democratic societies; human resource policies and organizational performance


Morris M. Kleiner is professor and AFL-CIO Chair in Labor Policy at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs. He also teaches at the University's Center for Human Resources and Labor Studies. He has received many teaching awards including University and school-wide ones for classes in public affairs, business, and economics. He has served as an expert on labor issues to government, labor, nonprofits, and business.

Kleiner’s research interests include the analysis of institutions in the labor market, the influence of labor-management policies on organizations, and the role of labor unions in democratic societies. He has published extensively in the top academic journals in labor economics and industrial relations, and is the author, co-author, or co-editor of eight books.

Kleiner is a research associate with the National Bureau of Economic Research in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He has been a professor at the University of Kansas, an associate in employment policy at the Brookings Institution, a visiting scholar in the Harvard University economics department, a visiting researcher in the Industrial Relations Section at Princeton University, a visiting scholar at the W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, a senior scholar in the Opportunity and Inclusive Growth Institute at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, and a visiting professor and research fellow at the London School of Economics. He is currently serving as a visiting scholar at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.

In 2018 he received the Lifetime Achievement Award for work in industrial relations from the Labor and Employment Relations Association. He received his doctorate in economics from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.


PhD (University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, 1974)

Cai, J. & Kleiner, M. (2020). The Labor Market Consequences of Regulating Similar Occupations: the Licensing of Occupational and Physical Therapists, Journal of Labor Research, 41(4),

Kleiner, M. & Timmons, E. (2020). Occupational Licensing: Improving Access to Regulatory Information, Journal of Labor Research, 41(4),

Johnson, J. E. & Kleiner, M. M. (2020). Is Occupational Licensing a Barrier to Interstate Migration?, American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, 12(3), 347-73

Kleiner, M. M. & Bryson, A.. Re‐Examining Advances in Occupational Licensing Research: Issues and Policy Implications, British Journal of Industrial Relations, 57(4), 721-731

Kleiner, M. M., Gittleman, M. & Klee, M. A. (2018). Analyzing the Labor Market Outcomes of Occupational Licensing, Industrial Relations, 57(1), 57-100

Kleiner, M. M. & Vorotnikov, E. (2017). Analyzing occupational licensing among the states, Journal of Regulatory Economics, 52(2), 132-158

Kleiner, M. M., Qian, X. & Chi, W. (2017). Do Occupational Regulations Increase Earnings? Evidence from China, Industrial Relations, 56(2), 351-381

Kleiner, M. M., Marier, A., Park, K. & Wing, C. (2016). Relaxing Occupational Licensing Requirements: Analyzing Wages and Prices for a Medical Service, Journal of Law and Economics, 59(2), 261-291

Kleiner, M. M. & Gittleman, M. (2016). Wage effects of unionization and occupational licensing coverage in the United States, Industrial and Labor Relations Review, 69(1), 142-172

Kleiner, M. M., Leonard, J. S. & Pilarski, A. M. (2014). The Influence on Resale Prices of Labor– Management Disputes in Aircraft Manufacturing. Labor and Employment Relations Association Proceedings:

Kleiner, M. M. & Krueger, A. B. (2013). Analyzing the extent and influence of occupational licensing on the labor market, Journal of Labor Economics, 31(2 PART2), S173-S202

Kleiner, M. M., Pilarski, A. M. & Nickelsburg, J. (2012). Organizational and Individual learning and forgetting, Industrial and Labor Relations Review, 65(1), 68-81

Kleiner, M. M., Bartel, A. P., Freeman, R. B. & Ichniowski, C. (2011). Can A Workplace Have An Attitude Problem? Workplace Effects on Employee Attitudes and Organizational Performance, Labour Economics, 18(4), 411-423

Kleiner, M. M., Chi, W. & Freeman, R. B. (2011). Adoption and Termination of Employee Involvement Programs, LABOUR, 25(1), 45-62

Kleiner, M. M. & Krueger, A. B. (2010). The Prevalence and Effects of Occupational Licensing, British Journal of Industrial Relations, 48(4), 676-687

Kleiner, M. M. & Bryson, A. (2010). The Regulation of Occupations, British Journal of Industrial Relations, 48(4),

Humphrey School News

Morris Kleiner Recognized for Career’s Work on Labor and Industrial Relations

Read more Humphrey School news

In the Media

License to Earn: New Measurement Shows Licensing Restrictions Depress Wage Growth
Forbes, 10-23-2020

Coronavirus: Maybe We Never Needed All That Red Tape
The Atlantic, 04-15-2020

Retired MN Nurses Want to Help with COVID-19, but Red Tape Keeps Many on the Sidelines
KSTP, 04-06-2020

The US is Relaxing Rules for Medical Professionals Working Across State Lines
Marketplace, 03-24-2020

Read More In the Media

Interviews and Videos

Interview on occupational licensing at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, May 2018.

Testimony, U.S. House of Representatives, Small Business Committee, Subcommittee Hearings on Economic Growth, Tax, and Capital Access, February 27, 2018.

Interview on MSNBC, "License to Work," December 2017

Interview on occupational regulation at the Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, June 6, 2017.

"Reforming the Regulation of Professions", European Commission, European Union, Brussels, Belgium, May 18, 2016.

Podcast of U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary: "License to Compete: Occupational Licensing and the State Action Doctrine", Washington, DC February 2, 2016.

"Reforming Occupational Licensing Policies", Hamilton Project, Brookings Institution, National Press Club, Washington DC, March 11, 2015.

Interview and podcast, July 19, 2014.

"Stages of Occupational Regulation", University of Minnesota Public Lecture, November 21, 2013.


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