As an academic economist, Professor Loury has published mainly in the areas of applied microeconomic theory, game theory, industrial organization, natural resource economics, and the economics of race and inequality. He is a Distinguished Fellow of the American Economics Association, a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and of the Econometric Society and a Member of the American Philosophical Society. In 2005 he received the John von Neumann Award, given annually by the Rajk László College of the Budapest University of Economic Science and Public Administration to "an outstanding economist whose research has exerted a major influence on students of the College over an extended period of time." He is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and a Carnegie Scholarship to support his work. He has given the prestigious Lee Lecture in Politics at Oxford (2016), the Tanner Lectures on Human Values at Stanford (2007), the James A. Moffett '29 Lectures in Ethics at Princeton (2003), and the DuBois Lectures in African American Studies at Harvard (2000).
As a prominent social critic and public intellectual writing mainly on the themes of racial inequality and social policy, he has published more than 200 essays and reviews in journals of public affairs in the US and abroad. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, was for many years a contributing editor at The Boston Review, and at The New Republic. His book One by One, From the Inside Out: Essays and Reviews on Race and Responsibility in America (The Free Press, 1995) won the American Book Award and the Christianity Today Book Award.