Research Interests

My research is at the intersection of labor and innovation aimed at understanding the impact of the structure of work due to the current wave of innovation (ICT revolution, digital innovation, the internet of things, automation, AI, etc.). I’m interested in 3 main themes:

1. The way we do work

This has been discussed at length in regards to the replacement of routine work, rise of social and stem skills, and within the innovation and management/organization fields, the importance of teamwork. In my previous work, I have been interested in the role of teamwork (it’s impact in conjunction with age on lifetime patenting) and skills (particularly the importance of knowledge managers and social & communication skills).

2. How work is structured

Having a single employer is still the predominant form of work, but the rise of new online labor markets has lead way to a new class of work (often called the gig economy) of which many labor institutions are unprepared to handle.

How are new types of work affecting wages? With the rise of the gig economy, income can now come from a variety of sources, whether that be platform work (ie Mechanical Turk), renting out possessions (Homes via airbnb, cars via Turo) or providing services (Thumbtack, Etsy, Lyft). Work has become decentralized in these markets with employers no longer providing the same benefits or pay structure as those in more centralized firm organization structures. Has this new structure impacted inequality? Is there biasedness in hiring within online labor markets? What is the responsibility of the firm to the employee? Under which labor institutional settings can workers be best protected considering the changing role of the firm (ie in the us context of providing retirement benefit options and healthcare)? How do we consider contracts for this new type of work and what rights do these individuals have?

3. The labor cost of crowdsourced data

For every rating or review that we give service providers, we are providing (unpaid) data (and work). The sum of this crowdsourced information is much more valuable than each of the ratings provided. How can we make visible the labor cost that goes into each of these ratings? Should firms pay for this information? Should the outcome of these crowdsourced information be made more publicly available (at least for government and researchers)?


Q: If you had to convince a young adult why they should study economics, what would you tell them?

If they are curious about the world then study economics – become a worldy philosopher as Robert Heilbroner coined it.


About Mary Kaltenberg

Profile Pic

I am currently a post-doctoral fellow at Brandeis University with Adam Jaffe and Margie Lachman working on the inventor life cycle with patent data. I was a PhD Fellow at UNU-MERIT, Maastricht, The Netherlands. My doctoral advisors were Bart Verspagen at UNU-MERIT, Neil Foster-McGregor at UNU-MERIT and Cesar Hidalgo at the Collective Learning group at the MIT Media Lab. In 2016, I was a visiting student and research assistant at the MIT Media Lab.

Previously, I worked at UNICEF on resource mobilization and research on accessibility to health care. I received my masters and bachelors degree in economics from The New School for Social Research in New York City.

Check out my Github for code and data from previous papers (currently updating), and code for tutorials for previously taught short courses.

More details about my experience can be found on my CV

I work on other personal projects/passions:

  • PhD Workshop on Knowledge & Institutions: A Complex Systems Approach August 23-26, 2019 @ Victoria University, Wellington, NZ
    Lead organizer for a summer Workshop
    Call for papers coming soon!
  • PhD Workshop on Innovation, Economic Complexity and Economic Geography 2.0, September 2-4, 2019 @ Utrecht University, Utrecht, NL
    Lead organizer for a summer Workshop
    Call for Papers Open!
  • The Tech Economist, YSI North America Convening @ USC, LA, USA  February 21-23, 2019
  • PhD Workshop on Innovation, Economic Complexity and Economic Geography, August 5-7, 2018 @ MIT Media Lab, Cambridge, MA, USA
    Lead organizer for a summer Workshop
  • Reading Schumpeter
    Webinar based reading group on Schumpeter’s texts.
  • Cookbook, From Siberia to Texas: An Immigrant’s Collected Recipes
    Listen to my PechaKucha talk about it (currently writing a draft)
  • Divine Feminist Philosophy Book Club
    Bi-monthly book club on re-defining and imagining a new left philosophy
    Previous Books: Francis Piven’s Poor People’s Movements: Why they succeed, How they Fail
    Bell Hooks’s Teaching to Transgress: Education as the Practice of Freedom , David Graeber’s Utopia of Rules, Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Sower, Rosa Luxemburg’s Mass Strike
  • Economaster Chef (2015)
    Cook an appetizer, main course and dessert together with one “master” chef per item. Each person who is from a different country teaches the others their recipe to learn the tacit knowledge of cooking. We switch chefs and recipes every meeting. Check out our recipe collection from the year here


Selected Publications

Kaltenberg, M. (2017). Complexity Pays: Knowledge Coordination Premiums. Revising to submit.

Jun, B., Kaltenberg, M. and Won-Sik, H. 2017, How Inequality Hurts Growth: Revisiting the Galor-Zeira model using the Korean Case. pre-print.

Hartmann, D., Jara-Figueroa, C. and Kaltenberg, M., 2017, The Brazilian Industry-Occupation Space: Structural Heterogeneity and the regional skills demand. IADB Technical Report.

Industrial Development Report 2016. The Role of Technology and Innovation in Inclusive and Sustainable Industrial Development. “Technological change, structural transformation and economic growth,” Vienna, UNIDO.

Verspagen, B. & Kaltenberg, M., 2015, Catching-up in a globalised context: Technological change as a driver of growth, UNU-MERIT Working Paper
Download it here

If interested, please contact me about my ongoing projects.


Teaching Philosophy

The goal of economics is to make sense of the social world around us. I believe the best way to teach economics is through applied real world examples in an active environment. My pedagogical approach is to challenge students by asking questions and utilize classroom activities that reiterate the learning objective. This is especially important when teaching econometrics or statistics – the power of these tools is not visible in theory, but through application. Students also learn better when learning objectives are repeated in different ways – data collecting at the lecture, interactive websites, short videos at home, writing reports and problems sets. Learning is best applied in a community of active and engaged students. My goal as a teacher is to foster this kind of environment.

Teaching Experience

Maastricht School of Governance, Master of Science in Public Policy

Introduction to Statistics (Fall 2014), TA

Introduction to Data Science (Fall 2015)
Feel free to request the syllabus and Do-Files (Stata)

Introduction to Econometrics (Fall 2014 and 2015), TA

Intermediate Econometrics (Parallel Course to Intro to Econometrics) (Fall 2015), TA

Maastricht School of Governance, GPAC (PhD Program)

Intuition to Panel Data (Short Course 2017)
You can find the syllabus here
Feel free to request the Do-Files (Stata)

Introduction to Stata (Short Course 2017)
You can check out the do-files based on the course on my Github here

UNU-MERIT, (PhD Program)

Introduction to Python for Economists (Short Course 2017)
For jupytr notebook with the Python code, see my Github here

I am happy to provide teacher evaluations for all courses when available/applicable



kaltenberg [at] merit [dot] unu [dot] edu
mkaltenberg [at] brandeis [dot] edu
mary.kaltenberg [at] maastrichtuniversity [dot] nl


University Address

Brandeis University
Brown 125
MS 062
Brandeis University
415 South Street
Waltham MA 02453-2728