James A. Levinsohn, Inaugural Dean of the Yale Jackson School

January 18, 2022

Dear Members of the Yale Community,

When I announced the establishment of the Yale Jackson School of Global Affairs in 2019, I wrote that it will open in fall 2022 once we have reached our fundraising target. I am delighted to report that we have met that goal. I am also very pleased to announce that James A. Levinsohn will be the inaugural dean of the school, effective July 1, 2022.

The transition from the Jackson Institute to the Yale Jackson School occurs as communities around the world are facing profound challenges: climate change, war, migration, pandemic, resource scarcity, and political division. The complexity of these problems calls for solutions built from great breadth and depth of knowledge, expertise, and perspective. By bringing together scholars, policymakers, and practitioners in political science, economics, history, law, and other fields, Professor Levinsohn will lead the Yale Jackson School in greatly enhancing our university’s ability to answer that call. A renowned scholar in international economics, industrial organization, economic development, and applied econometrics, Professor Levinsohn is the director of Yale’s Jackson Institute for Global Affairs, the Charles W. Goodyear Professor in Global Affairs, professor of economics in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, and professor of management at the Yale School of Management.

Professor Levinsohn came to Yale in 2010 as the first director of the Jackson Institute. Under his guidance, the institute has grown considerably since it was established with a transformational gift from John W. and Susan G. Jackson. The institute has launched several initiatives that bring to Yale new scholarship and teaching on international affairs, including the Global Affairs major in Yale College, the Johnson Center for the Study of American Diplomacy, the Kerry Initiative, and the International Leadership Center. Several Yale programs have also joined the Jackson community over the past decade, such as the Maurice R. Greenberg World Fellows Program, the Leitner Program on Effective Democratic Governance, the Global Health Studies Program, and International Security Studies.

Since the Yale board of trustees approved the establishment of the Yale Jackson School in 2019, Professor Levinsohn has worked with faculty members across the university to assess opportunities and challenges inherent in research and teaching in global affairs. These collaborative efforts have resulted in the creation of the Master of Public Policy degree and changes to the institute’s curriculum. He also has recruited leading scholars from Yale and peer institutions to form the founding faculty of the Yale Jackson School and distinguished practitioners from across the world to serve as Senior Fellows.

Professor Levinsohn’s own research contributions reflect the Yale Jackson School’s focus on multidisciplinary scholarship. His work has intersected with public health, economics, political science, environmental science, and other fields. He has studied the impact of internal migration on household well-being in South Africa and estimated the demand for sanitation in Bangladesh. He has published widely on trade policy, youth employment policy, foreign investment practices, and multinational corporations. His research projects have included studying the effects of HIV/AIDS on unemployment in South Africa and working with Sudanese refugees seeking compensation for forcible removal from their homelands. He also has analyzed how environmental policies influence the U.S. automobile market.

Professor Levinsohn’s research has been supported by major grants from the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and other organizations. He has been recognized for his teaching at Yale and the University of Michigan, where he was faculty for two decades prior to joining us in New Haven. He has served on the editorial boards of the American Economic Review, Journal of International Economics, Review of Economics and Statistics, and Journal of Economic Literature. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and is a Research Associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research. In 2021, Professor Levinsohn was elected president of the Association of Professional Schools of International Affairs, a convening organization for the world’s top schools of international affairs. He earned his B.A. from Williams College, his M.P.A. from the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs, and his Ph.D. in economics from Princeton University.

Professor Levinsohn is looking forward to drawing on his substantial research, teaching, and leadership experiences to foster new academic collaborations and programs to support the work of faculty and staff and to develop additional educational initiatives for our students. One of his top priorities is to equip the next generation of scholars, practitioners, and policy makers with the ability to apply evidence-based decision-making to address global challenges.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the members of the Jackson Institute community for providing input to Vice President and Vice Provost Pericles Lewis and me regarding Professor Levinsohn’s service as director of the Jackson Institute. Your comments about Professor Levinsohn’s accomplishments and the future of the school informed my decision. I also am grateful to the members of the Jackson Transitional Board, who have helped Professor Levinsohn work on faculty recruitment and curriculum development over the past three years.

Please join me in congratulating Professor Levinsohn and in wishing him every success as he prepares to assume the role of the inaugural dean of the Yale Jackson School of Global Affairs!


Peter Salovey
Chris Argyris Professor of Psychology