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Nathan Grawe

Nathan Grawe

  • Professor of Economics, Ada M. Harrison Distinguished Teaching Professor of the Social Sciences, Economics


Dr. Nathan Grawe is the Ada M. Harrison Distinguished Teaching Professor of the Social Sciences at Carleton College where he has served on the faculty since 1999.  Nathan earned his BA from St. Olaf College and his MA and PhD in Economics from the University of Chicago.  His work as a labor economist studies the connections between family background and educational and labor market outcomes.   Nathan’s 2018 book, Demographics and The Demand for Higher Education (Johns Hopkins University Press) examines how recent demographic shifts are likely to affect demand for higher education. In a follow-up project, The Agile College (Johns Hopkins University Press, forthcoming), Nathan draws on interviews with higher education leaders to provide examples of how proactive institutions are grappling with demographic change.

Nathan has participated in the leadership of Carleton's Quantitative Inquiry, Reasoning, and Knowledge (QuIRK) initiative and has shared what Carleton has learned through this initiative through invited talks and professional development workshops at dozens of colleges and universities across the US and Canada.  Since 2015 he has served as Senior editor of Numeracy, the flagship journal of the National Numeracy Network. In 2018 he took on the role of Executive Editor of the journal.

Education & Professional History

St. Olaf College, BA 1996

University of Chicago, MA, PhD. 2001

At Carleton since 1999.

Highlights & Recent Activity

Selected Publications

Grawe, Nathan D.  Forthcoming.  The Agile College: How Institutions Successfully Navigate Demographic Changes. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press.

__________.  2019.  “Americans Are Having Frewer Kids.  What Will That Mean for Higher Education?”  Harvard Business Review October 17.

__________. 2018.  Demographics and Demand for Higher Education.  Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press.

Grawe, Nathan D.  2019.  “Advancing the Liberal Arts in the Face of Demographic Change,” Liberal Education 104(4): 6-11.

Grawe, Nathan D. and Kristin O’Connell.  2018.  “Using the Quantitative Literacy and Reasoning Assessment (QLRA) for Early Detection of Students in Need of Academic Support in Introductory Courses in a Quantitative Discipline: A Case Study,” Numeracy 11(1): Article 5.

Archibong, Belinda; Harrison Decker; Nathan D. Grawe; Martha Olney; Carol Rutz; and David Weiman.  2017.  “Forging On-Campus Connections to Enhance Undergraduate Student Reasoning, Writing, and Research Skills,” Journal of Economic Education, 48(4): 317:326.

Rutz, Carol and Nathan D. Grawe.  2017.  “How Writing Program Best Practices Have Transformed Carleton College,” Peer Review, 19(1): 13-16.

Bourne, Jenny and Nathan D. Grawe.  2015.  “How Broad Liberal Arts Training Produces PhD Economists:  Carleton's Story,” Journal of Economic Education, 46(2):166-173.

Carpenter, Scott D.; Nathan D. Grawe; Susan Jaret McKinstry; and Louis E. Newman.  2015.  “Creating a Culture Conducive to Integrative Learning,” Peer Review, 16/17(4/1): 14-15.

Grawe, Nathan D.   2014.  “Toward a Numerate Citizenry: A Progress Report,” Peer Review, 16(3): 31.

__________.  2013.  “Does Completion of Quantitative Courses Predict Better Quantitative Reasoning-in-Writing Proficiency?” Numeracy, 6(2): Article 11.

__________.  2012.  “Achieving a Quantitatively Literate Citizenry: Resources and Community to Support National Change.” Liberal Education, 98(2): 30-35. 

__________.  2011.  “The Potential for Teaching Quantitative Reasoning across the Curriculum: Empirical Evidence from Carleton College.”  International Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 5(1).

__________.  2011.  “Beyond Math Skills: Measuring Quantitative Reasoning in Context.”  In J. D. Penn (ed.). Measuring Complex General Education Student Learning Outcomes.   New Directions in Institutional Research, Special Issue: Assessing Complex General Education Student Learning Outcomes, 2011(149): 41-52.

__________.  2010.  “Primary and Secondary School Quality and Intergenerational Earnings Mobility.”  Journal of Human Capital, 4(4): 331-364.

__________.  2010.  “Bequest Receipt and Family Size Effects.”  Economic Inquiry, 48(1): 156-162.

__________, Neil S. Lutsky, and Christopher J. Tassava.  2010.  “A Rubric for Assessing Quantitative Reasoning in Written Arguments.”  Numeracy, 3(1): Article 3.

Grawe, Nathan D. and Carol A. Rutz.  2009.  “Integration with Writing Programs: A Strategy for Quantitative Reasoning Program Development.”  Numeracy, 2(2): Article 2.

Rutz, Carol A. and Nathan D. Grawe.  2009.  “Pairing WAC and Quantitative Reasoning through Portfolio Assessment and Faculty Development.”  Across the Disciplines, December. 

Grawe, Nathan D. and Jenny B. Wahl.  2009.  “Blacks, Whites, and Brown: Effects on the Earnings of Men and Their Sons.”  Journal of African American Studies, 13(4): 455-475.

Grawe, Nathan D.  2008.  “The Quality-Quantity Trade-Off in Fertility across Parent Earnings Levels: A Test for Credit Market Failure.” Review of Economics of the Household, 6(1): 29-45.

__________.  2007.  “A Simulation of Counter-Cyclical Intervention: Lessons in Practice.”  Journal of Economic Education, 13(4): 371-392.

__________.  2006.  “The Extent of Lifecycle Bias in Estimates of Intergenerational Earnings Persistence.”  Labour Economics, 13(5): 551-570. 

__________.  2006.  “Family Size and Child Achievement.”  In John Creedy and Guyonne Kalb, eds. Research on Economic Inequality, Vol. 13.  Amsterdam: Elsevier.

__________.  2004.  “Reconsidering the Use of Nonlinearities in Intergenerational Earnings Mobility as a Test for Credit Constraints.”  Journal of Human Resources, 39(3): 813-827.

__________.  2004.  “The 3-Day Week of 1974 and Earnings Data Reliability in the Family Expenditure Survey and the National Child Development Study.”  Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, 66(4): 567-579.

__________ and Casey B. Mulligan.  2002.  “Economic Interpretations of Intergenerational Correlations.”  Journal of Economic Perspectives, 16(3):45-58. 


“Quantitative Inquiry, Reasoning, and Knowledge in Student Writing.”  2007-2011. National Science Foundation (#DUE-0717604), $499,994.

“Developing a Community of Assessment, Awareness, and Professional Development for Quantitative Reasoning.”  2009-2011. National Science Foundation (Supplemental to #DUE-0717604), $67,351.

“Quantitative Reasoning across the Curriculum: Completing the Cultural Change.” 2008-2011.  W.M. Keck Foundation, $300,000.

Organizations & Scholarly Affiliations

Courses Taught This Year

  • ECON 395: Advanced Topics in Macroeconomics (Fall 2020)
  • ECON 111: Principles of Microeconomics (Fall 2020)
  • ECON 293: Theories of Economic Justice (Fall 2020)
  • ECON 398: Advanced Research in Economics (Winter 2021)
  • ECON 400: Integrative Exercise (Winter 2021)
  • ECON 331: Intermediate Macro Theory (Winter 2021)
  • ECON 398: Advanced Research in Economics (Spring 2021)
  • ECON 400: Integrative Exercise (Spring 2021)
  • ECON 331: Intermediate Macro Theory (Spring 2021)
Profile updated July 30, 2020

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