Research in Labor Economics was founded in 1977 by Ronald Ehrenberg and JAI Press, and has been published by Elsevier from 1999-2007 and by Emerald since 2008. Solomon Polachek has been editor since 1995.
Beginning in 2007 RLE affiliated with the IZA-Institute of Labor Economics, an independent non-profit research institution running the world's largest network of Fellows and Affilates in the field. At that time publication extended to two volumes per year. Konstantinos Tatsiramos became the IZA Co-Editor in 2008 after taking over from Olivier Bargain who served in that capacity from 2007-2008.
Finally in 2011 RLE established an editorial board consisting of Orley C. Ashenfelter, Francine D. Blau, Richard Blundell, Alison L. Booth, David Card, Ronald G. Ehrenberg, Richard B. Freeman, Reuben Gronau, Daniel S. Hamermesh, James J. Heckman, Alan B. Krueger, Edward P. Lazear, Christopher A. Pissarides, Yoram Weiss, and Klaus F. Zimmermann. Two are Nobel Laureates and all are top labor economists.
Since its inception RLE published over 350 articles encompassing a wide range of themes spanning an array of labor economics topics. Authors have ranged from young scholars with much potential to mature leaders in the field, including Nobel Prize and John Bates Clark award winners.
Over the years RLE has continued to present important new research in labor economics particularly regarding worker well-being. It covers themes such as labor supply, work effort, schooling, on-the-job training, earnings distribution, discrimination, migration, and the effects of government policies on worker well-being.