Frank Levy


Who I am.

I am an  economist, retired from teaching  and department meetings but not much else. I am currently a lecturer in the Department of Health Care Policy, Harvard Medical School, where I work on technology's impact on jobs and living standards and on the economics of radiology. l am married to Katherine Swartz, an economist at the Harvard School of Public Health. We have two children Dave (and his wife Kelly) and Marin (and her husband Joseph) and we have a new grandchild, Andrew, with a second grandchild on the way. Before coming to MIT in 1992, I taught for ten years at Cal-Berkeley and eleven years at the University of Maryland at College Park and worked for four years at the Urban Institute in Washington DC


New Work

My newest paper, Dancing with Robots is coauthored with Richard J. Murnane (The Third Way Foundation) examines the skills needed in a job market that has been reshaped by computerized work and offshoring. A new working paper  'The Economic Basis of BA Ambivelence" (with Alan Benson and Raimundo Esteva) demonstrates that investing in a college education still offers a high return, on average, even after adjusting for the chance of dropping out of college or taking more than four years to graduate.  But the investment's risk is rising - a student's most likely outcome is still to earn a good return but there is a growing chance the student will end up not being able to easily manage his/her loan payments. 


Radiology Papers

The "Sharp Slowdown in Growth of Medical Imaging" co-authored with David Lee of GE Healthcare, was published in the August 2012 edition of Health Affairs and documents how policy has managed to slow the growth of advanced imaging utilization (Abstract). Earlier papers include "Offshoring Radiology Services to Inidia" (British Journal of Industrial 'Relations),  with Kyoung He Yu, "Computers and the Supply of Radiology Services" (Journal of the American College of Radiology)  in which I argued that computers were increasing competitive pressure on radiologists and "Computers, Conversation, Utilization and Commoditization" (Americal Journal of Roentology) where I trace the impact of digitized imaging on the radiologost's job and the radiology job market.

I am currently working with Dr. Max Rosen, Chair of Radiology at UMass Medical School, on a short book describing the way in which medical imaging traced a "bubble" from the late 1980s through the present.

The Role of Institutions in Economic Inequality

About five years ago, Peter Temin and I completed two book chapters explaining the development and subsequent collapse of the economic institutions that helped to achieve an equiptable distribution of economic growth in the years between World War II and the 1980s. A working paper version of the argument is available here. A short version of the argument was given as the first Bernie Saffran Memorial Lecture at Swarthmore College, November 15, 2007.


The New Division of Labor: How Computers Are Creating the Next Job Market. (with Richard J. Murnane), Princeton University Press, 2004.

The New Dollars and Dreams: American Incomes in the Late 1990s. Russell Sage Foundation, 1999. 

Teaching the New Basic Skills. (with Richard J. Murnane), Basic Books, 1996.