Atsuko Tanaka is an applied microeconomist studying labor markets and
households consumption. She grew up in Japan and received her PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She joined the Economics department at the University of Calgary in 2013 as an assistant professor. Her particular interests include statistical discrimination and social security reforms. As such, her research agenda is primarily to evaluate economic policy reforms that affect labor supply, human capital investment, and wage payment of workers with a focus on labor allocation inefficiency. Using a model based on economic theory, Atsuko addresses these policy related questions by conducting simulation analysis.
In her dissertation, she applied the structural estimation approach and evaluated how daycare subsidy policies help to narrow the gender wage gap and encourage female workers’ skill investment. She is currently working on a project that evaluates how U.S. college loan repayment policy reforms affect workers’ skill investment. College loan repayment can be very costly for borrowers in part because they need a monthly income almost immediately after completing their studies. This project sheds light on inefficiency due to credit constraints, in which individuals with large college debts end up choosing a sub optimal career path that decreases their human capital investment at the early stage of their careers.
Professor Tanaka teaches courses on labour economics and applied microeconometrics for graduate students and on intermediate microeconomics for undergraduate students. In Fall 2016, she will be teaching Economics 633 (Labour Economics).