David Lindauer

Principal Investigator,


Award-winning teacher and education innovator; development economist specializing in labor issues; policy work throughout Africa and East Asia.

Watch David Lindauer's Distinguished Faculty Lecture here.

Why are some nations rich and others poor? I have been thinking about this question ever since I was a college student. I do not have a simple answer—no one does—but the question has motivated my career as a development economist and as a teacher of economics. In trying to understand how to improve the well-being of people who live in low- and middle-income nations, I have worked for the World Bank and other development agencies. My focus has been on labor issues including skill mismatches in Belize; labor relations in Korea; racial affirmative action in Malaysia; worker productivity in Ethiopia; minimum wage policy in the Philippines; and government pay and employment in Zambia. I also am a co-author of Economics of Development, a leading textbook in the field.

In spring 1981, my first semester at Wellesley, I taught Principles of Microeconomics (the first course in an economics major) as well as Development Economics. I have taught both courses ever since. I also have taught courses on Trade Policy and Economic Journalism. My Economic Journalism course focuses on public writing about economics and is the basis for the Calderwood Seminars in Public Writing program that I created and direct at Wellesley. We are now expanding the program to other colleges and universities.

I take great pride in introducing new ideas in economics to majors and non-majors alike. A characteristic of my classes is to engage students both inside and outside of the classroom. Alumnae have told me that a research paper or assignment was the first step in their subsequent careers. Others look back and say they began to discover their voices as independent thinkers in my courses.