As research fellow in labor economics at The Heritage Foundation, James Sherk researches ways to promote competition and mobility in the workforce rather than erect barriers that prevent workers from getting ahead.
Sherk’s recent writings address ways to help recipients of unemployment insurance return to work more quickly; why participation in the labor force dropped during the recession; and the economic consequences of raising the minimum wage.
His research showed that federal employees make significantly more than comparable workers in the private sector. The findings attracted widespread national attention and contributed to the decision of President Obama and congressional leaders to suspend scheduled across-the-board pay increases for federal workers.
Sherk’s labor reform work formed the basis for the advance of legislation in Congress to allow union members to earn pay increases above their union rate. Under current law, unionized employers may not pay individuals more without the union’s permission.
Sherk, who joined Heritage in 2006, frequently testifies before committees of Congress on labor policy issues. His commentary and analysis have appeared in publications such as the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Washington Times, Business Week and Roll Call. CNN, Fox News Channel, CNBC and PBS are among TV news outlets to feature his analysis of pressing labor issues.
Sherk completed graduate studies at the University of Rochester, where he received a master of arts in economics with a concentration in econometrics and labor economics. He also holds a bachelor's degree in economics and mathematics from Hillsdale College in Hillsdale, Mich.
Sherk, whose hobbies include hiking, reading and cooking, resides in Arlington, Va.