Deborah Cobb-Clark earned a PhD in Economics from the University of Michigan. Prior to joining the University of Sydney, she was the Ronald Henderson Professor and director of the Melbourne Institute at the University of Melbourne. She has also held positions at the US Labor Department, Illinois State University, and the Australian National University where she was the founding director of The Social Policy Evaluation, Analysis and Research (SPEAR) Centre. Her research agenda centres on the effect of social policy on labour market outcomes including immigration, sexual and racial harassment, health, old-age support, education and youth transitions. She has published more than four dozen academic articles in leading international journals and is a former co-editor of the Journal of Population Economics.
As well as being a professor of economics at the University of Sydney, she is director of the program in gender and families at the Institute for the Study of Labor in Bonn, Germany; a chief investigator in the ARC Centre of Excellence for Children and Families over the Life Course; and an elected fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia.