Roland Fryer's Headshot

Roland Fryer

- Panelist Blurb

Many recognize Fryer's name from the Bestselling Book Freakonomics, which has been on the The New York Times Bestseller list for more than 90 weeks. Some of Freakonomics' most resonating chapters were ones on which Fryer collaborated.

Fryer and the Freakonomics team examined several of society's racial myths including the racial inequalities within the American educational system and the economical impact of distinctively black children's names.

Roland Fryer was recently hired by New York City Schools as the system's C.E.O., "chief equality officer," to advise them on how to narrow the racial gap in achievement in the city's schools.

Fryer has quickly become a major player in the study of applying economic theories to issues of race and discrimination. He has studied the black-white achievement gap, colorblind affirmative action, and the consumption patterns of blacks vs. whites. Fryer heads Harvard's American Inequality Lab, which is devoted to understanding the causes and consequences of inequality in American society.

Fryer was first brought to the public eye when The New York Times ran an extensive profile of him, entitled "Toward a Unified Theory of Black America" in March of 2005. This portrait etched out the extensive struggles of Fryer's childhood, where he was exposed to drugs, crime and parental abandonment. Fryer received an athletic scholarship to the University of Texas at Arlington and graduated in 2 ½ years. He then got his Ph.D. in economics from Penn State.

Fryer's work has been profiled in The New York Times, Washington Post, the Boston Globe and Black Voices.

Fryer was named a "Rising Star" by Fortune magazine and was featured in Esquire's "Genius Issue." He received the 2007 Sloan Research Fellowship in Economics.

NOTE: Bio is as it appeared in the Forum program from February 9, 2008.