Kristen Sobeck's picture

Kristen Sobeck

Postdoctoral Fellow

Contact details

Kristen Sobeck is a Senior Research Officer at the Tax and Transfer Policy Institute (TTPI). Kristen studied economics and French at Smith College and has a Master’s degree in Economics from the University of Geneva. Prior to joining TTPI, she worked as an economist at the International Labour Organization (ILO) from its headquarters in Geneva and country office in Argentina. She was also awarded a Fulbright Fellowship in 2007 and is fluent in English, Spanish, and French.


Kristen’s CV is available here.


Tax and Transfer Policy Institute, Crawford School of Public Policy, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia. Mar. 2018 - Present. Senior Research Officer.

International Labour Organization, Country Office for Argentina, Buenos Aires, Argentina. Feb. 2016 – Jan. 2018. Officer in Inclusive Labour Market Institutions.
Economic policy research and evaluation in Argentina. Designed and supervised studies, in collaboration with the Argentine government, employers’ organisations and trade unions, on: (1) selected sectors of the economy with high levels of informality (domestic work, retail, and textile sectors); (2) the impact of a recent law on employment levels in companies following labour inspection; (3) the identification of informal workers in formal companies through the use of administrative data and inspection records; (4) a behavioral insights intervention to encourage employer registration of informal domestic workers.

Training and supervision. Supervised the work of 8 consultants. Provided training on the informal economy for undergraduate students and policymakers. Organized and facilitated a 4-day training on formalization of the informal economy for 30 representatives of the government, trade unions, and employers’ organizations. Organized a seminar with on formalization of the informal economy for 100 participants.

Participation in global policy debates. Participated in committee responsible for writing the report for the 2017 International Labour Conference discussion on labour migration Coordinated peer review of the argentine case study for the OECD-ILO global project on the economic contribution of labour migration.

International Labour Organization, Inclusive Labour Markets, Labour Relations and Working Conditions Dept., Geneva, Switzerland. Mar. 2009 – Jan. 2016. Economist.
Economic policy research. Managed ILO Global Wage databases for ILO’s Global Wage Reports (more than 100 countries’ data) and estimated annual global and regional real wage growth trends for the reports since 2009. Research and wrote economic analyses and policy recommendations: on pay gaps (gender, migrant, informal workers), macro-economic trends, and low pay for the reports.

Technical assistance to UN Member States. Provided training on minimum wages to trade union representatives, employer representatives, government representatives, and ILO colleagues. Provided technical assistance to the Government of South Africa to improve wage and labour productivity measurement. Provided technical assistance to multiple member states aiming to implement and/or reform their minimum wage systems (Egypt, Mauritius, Macedonia, Cape Verde, Costa Rica, Bulgaria, Rwanda, South Africa). Provided technical assistance to Burundi’s government on public sector pay reform. Wrote policy reports for all forms of technical assistance provided. Contributed to the ILO’s new policy guide on minimum wages and coordinated technical peer-review.

Participation in global policy debates. Prepared analyses for high-level meetings and reports (G20; 2015 ILO Meeting of Experts on Nonstandard Forms of Employment; 2015 International Labour Conference discussion on Labour Protection).

University of Geneva Department of Political Economy, Geneva, Switzerland. June 2008 – Aug. 2008. Research Assistant.
Retained for a research mandate by Switzerland’s Federal Department of State for the Economy to assess and propose an appropriate minimum wage level for domestic workers in Switzerland. See publication below: (Flückiger,Y. et al., 2008)

United States Department of State, Geneva, Switzerland. Sept. 2007 – June 2008. Fulbright Fellow. Research project on the educational choices of women, their labour force decisions, and the role of public policies, like public early childhood education. Applied econometric models to assess factors which influenced educational choices and the likelihood of post-graduation employment (differentiated by sex). Worked in a Swiss public preschool to better understand early childhood education policy in Switzerland. Conducted interviews with mothers and preschool employees to better understand the factors which influenced their educational choices and the cultural perceptions of the value of public Swiss preschool.


Steinhauser, Ralf, Mathias Sinning and Kristen Sobeck (2019). State tax elasticities of revenue bases. Report commissioned by the Commonwealth Grants Commission.

ILO Panorama Laboral 2017 de America Latina y el Caribe (2017). Co-author of the second part of the report (special focus) on wage trends in Latin America since 2005.

ILO Panorama Laboral 2016 de America Latina y el Caribe (2016). Contributing author.

ILO Minimum Wage Policy Guide (2016). Contributing author.

Sobeck, Kristen, Patrick Belser, and Rosalia Vazquez-Alvarez. “Recent Debates in Inequality, Wages, and Labour Productivity” Giornale di Diritto del Lavoro e di Relazioni Industriali. 150 (2016): 365-80.

ILO Global Wage Report 2014/15: Wages and income inequality (2014). Contributing author. International Labour Office. Geneva.

ILO Global Wage Report 2012/13: Wages and equitable growth (2012). Contributing author. International Labour Office. Geneva.

Belser, Patrick and Kristen Sobeck. “At what level should countries set their minimum wages?” International Journal of Labour Research. 4.1 (2012): 105-27.

Lee, Sangheon, and Kristen Sobeck. “Low-wage work: A global perspective.” International Labour Review. 151.3 (2012): 141-55.

ILO Global Wage Report 2010/11: Wage policies in times of crisis (2010). Contributing author. International Labour Office. Geneva.

Flückiger,Yves, Giovanni Ferro-Luzzi, Kristen Sobeck, Roman Graf, and Jean-Marc Falter (2008). Domestic Work in Switzerland: Calculation of the prevailing wages in the domestic services sector in Switzerland in consideration of the establishment of a standard contract. State Secretariat for Economic Affairs SECO. Published in French.



Breunig, R. and K. Sobeck. (2019, Apr. 9) What will the Coalition be remembered for on tax? Tinkering, blunders and lost opportunities. The Conversation (Australia).

Sobeck, K. (2017, Apr. 2). Los derechos de quienes trabajan en hogares (The rights of domestic workers). La Nacion (Argentina).

Sobeck, K. (2016, Oct. 5). Digging into the wage gap. IOL and Independent Media (South Africa).

Blog entries:

Austaxpolicy blog. Pay Disclosure: Information is Power for Employers and Empowers Employees. 23 July 2018.

ILO. The call for adequate minimum wages is growing louder everywhere. 30 June 2016.

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