Susan Helper

Frank Tracy Carlton Professorship in Economics
Weatherhead School of Management
Department of Economics
Weatherhead School of Management
National Academy of Sciences
Non-resident Senior Fellow
Bureau of Labor Statistics Technical Advisory Committee

Susan Helper, PhD, is the Frank Tracy Carlton Professor of Economics at Weatherhead School of Management, Case Western Reserve University. She served as the Chief Economist of the U.S. Department of Commerce from 2013-2015, and as Senior Economist at the White House Council of Economic Advisors in 2012-2013.

Her research focuses on this question: When supplies and customers or management and labor collaborate, how does it shape the economy? Currently, she is looking at how global supply chains affect regional development and innovation. She is also examining a paradox in regional economic development. While the world is becoming more “flat” with goods and money flowing ever more quickly around the globe, local “clusters" of production in places such as Silicon Valley remain important. Helper has numerous publications in refereed journals such as Journal of Economic Perspectives, Industrial and Corporate Change, American Economic Review, Journal of Economics and Management Strategy, and Industrial and Corporate Change. She is a member of the editorial review board for Strategic Management Journal.

Since her appointment to Case Western Reserve University in 1990, Helper has taught students at the undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral levels. Her courses include Environmental Economics, Research Methods, Economics of Innovation, Competition and Public Policy, Economics of Cooperation, Introduction to Microeconomics, and Principles of Economics Perspectives on Management Theory.

Over the past ten years, she has served as chair of the Case Western Reserve Economics Department and the AT&T Professor of Economics; International Visiting Fellow at Said School of Management, University of Oxford; and Visiting Scholar, Institute of Industrial Relations, University of California, Berkeley. She received her PhD from Harvard University and her BA from Oberlin College.

Initially Appointed: 1990

Teaching Information

Office Hours

By Appointment Only

Awards and Honors

Becker Friedman Fellow
University of Chicago
Women of Achievement Award
Flora Stone Mather Center for Women, CWRU

Professional Memberships

Member, Bureau of Labor Statistics Technical Advisory Committee

External Appointments

Program Organizer, Canadian Institute for Advanced Research, 2019 - 2024

Non-resident Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution, 2016 - Present

Chief Economist, US Department of Commerce, 2013 - 2015

Senior Economist, White House Council of Economic Advisers, 2012 - 2013

Committee Member, National Academy of Sciences Panel on Manufacturing, Washington DC, 2011 - 2012

Editorial Review Board Member, Strategic Management Journal, 2008 - Present


  • Helper, S. (2018).
    Preparing US Workers and Employers for an Autonomous Vehicle Future  
  • Helper, S. ,
    “Management Practices, Relational Contracts, and the Fall of General Motors”   
  • Helper, S.
    Why Manufacturing? Which Manufacturing?    Brookings
  • Helper, S.
    Strategies for Job Creation and Retention in Manufacturing   
  • Helper, S.
    Management Innovation in the Supply Chain: Appreciating Chandler in the 21st Century  Industrial and Corporate Change
  • Helper, S. , Gray, J. , Osborne, B. (2020).
    Value first, cost later: Total Value Contribution (TVC) as a new roadmap for sourcing decisions  Journal of Operations Management
  • Clingingsmith, D. , Helper, S. , Shane, S. A. (2020).
    Principles for Economic Policy in the COVID-19 Recession    Economic Policy Ideas for COVID-19
  • Clingingsmith, D. , Helper, S. , Shane, S. A. (2020).
    Washington Must Add Medical Capacity    Economic Policy Ideas for COVID-19
  • Helper, S. , Sako, M. (2010).
    Management Innovation in the Supply Chain: Appreciating Chandler in the 21st Century    Industrial and Corporate Change: Industrial and Corporate Change
  • Helper, S. (2010).
    Strengthening American Manufacturing: A New Federal Approach (pp. 15)  Washington, DC: Brookings
  • Helper, S. , (2009).
    International Differences in Lean Production, Productivity and Employee Attitudes   National Bureau of Economic Research
  • Helper, S. , (2009).
    Can Price Hikes Save GM    The Daily Beast
  • Helper, S. (2009).
    Should We Still Make Things?    Dissent
  • Helper, S. , MacDuffie, J. P. (2008).
    Better than a Bailout    The New Republic
  • Helper, S. (2008).
    Renewing US Manufacturing: A High-Road Strategy   Washington, DC: Economic Policy Institute


  • Helper, S.  American Economic Association Meetings, "Value Migration and Industry 4.0: Theory, Field Evidence, and Propositions", American Economic Association, Philadelphia. (2018).
  • Helper, S.  Agenda for Shared Prosperity, "Renewing US Manufacturing: A High-Road Strategy", Economic Policy Institute, Washington, DC. (2008).


Harvard University
Bachelor of Arts
Oberlin College