Robert M. Hauser is Executive Director of the Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education at the National Research Council and Vilas Research Professor and Samuel Stouffer Professor of Sociology, Emeritus, at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. While at the UW-Madison, he directed the Center for Demography of Health and Aging, the Institute for Research on Poverty, and the Center for Demography and Ecology. He has been an investigator on the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study (WLS) since 1969 and has led the study since 1980. The WLS, which began as a study of post-secondary education, has followed the lives of more than 10,000 Wisconsin high school graduates of 1957 for more than half a century and is now a national resource for research on health and retirement.
With David L. Featherman, Hauser led the 1973 Occupational Changes in a Generation project, which successfully carried out the last major survey of intergenerational social mobility in the United States and yielded two books, The Process of Stratification: Trends and Analyses (with David L. Featherman; Academic Press 1977) and Opportunity and Change (with David L. Featherman; Academic Press 1978), dozens of journal publications, and a much-used public data file. Another major project (with Halliman H. Winsborough and Karl Taeuber) created public use micro-data files from the 1940 and 1950 U.S. Censuses. A third project (with Robert D. Mare) supported collection of socioeconomic data from a sample of siblings of participants in the NORC General Social Survey. A fourth project created uniform public use files from the October school enrollment supplements of the Current Population Survey.
Hauser’s current research interests include statistical methodology; trends in educational progression and achievement among American racial and ethnic groups; the uses of educational assessment as a policy tool; and changes in socioeconomic standing, cognition, health, and well-being across the life course. Recent publications include reports of the National Research Council, Measuring Literacy: Performance Levels for Adults; Conducting Biosocial Surveys: Collecting, Storing, Accessing, and Protecting Biospecimens and Biodata; High School Dropout, Graduation, and Completion Rates: Better Data, Better Measures, Better Decisions, and A Plan for Evaluating the District of Columbia’s Public Schools: From Impressions to Evidence, and journal publications about grade retention, educational expectations, social mobility, obesity, cognitive functioning, end-of-life planning, mortality, and genetic effects (and non-effects) on health and cognitive functioning. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Academy of Education, and the American Philosophical Society.