Faculty Details

Photo of Brian K. Kovak

Brian K. Kovak

Assistant Professor of Economics and Public Policy

Voice: (412) 268-5223
Email: bkovak@cmu.edu
Personal Website


Brian Kovak is an Assistant Professor of Economics and Public Policy at Carnegie Mellon University’s H. John Heinz III College. His research examines the economic effects of international migration and trade with a focus on local labor markets. Dr. Kovak’s recent work concerns worker mobility in response to local labor market conditions, and in particular the role of immigrants’ geographic mobility in equalizing wage differences for native-born workers across U.S. local labor markets. Dr. Kovak also studies the local labor market effects of trade liberalization, developing theoretically motivated empirical approaches based on specific-factors models of local economies. Across several projects, he has employed these empirical approaches using household survey and matched employer-employee data from Brazil to study the effects of liberalization on wages, employment, informality, and the skill premium. His research has been published in leading journals such as the American Economic Review, Review of Economics and Statistics, and the American Economic Journal: Economic Policy.

Dr. Kovak received a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Michigan, a Master of Public Administration from Indiana University, and a B.S. in Computer Engineering from Penn State University. He currently holds the Dean’s Career Development Professorship at the Heinz College, and is an Associate Editor of the Journal of Development Economics. He is a Faculty Research Fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research as well as a Research Fellow of the Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA). In 2014, Dr. Kovak was awarded the IZA Young Labor Economist Award for the best peer-reviewed journal publication in labor economics by authors under age 40.


B.S., Computer Engineering, Penn State University
Master of Public Affairs, Indiana University
Ph.D., Economics, University of Michigan