Joseph Farrell was educated at Oxford University, where he received his D.Phil. in 1981. He joined UC Berkeley in 1989 as an associate professor and became a full professor in 1991, and Professor in the Graduate School in 2020. He was elected a Fellow of the Econometric Society in 2002, and received the Public Service Award from the Industrial Organization Society in 2016.
Professor Farrell previously was Director of the Bureau of Economics at the Federal Trade Commission, Deputy Assistant Attorney General for Economics with the U.S. Dept. of Justice, Chief Economist at the Federal Communications Commission, assistant professor at MIT, a principal member of the technical staff at GTE Laboratories, and National Fellow at the Hoover Institution. He served on the Computer Science and Telecommunications Board at the National Academies of Science. He was Editor of the Journal of Industrial Economics, President of the Industrial Organization Society, and Chair of Berkeley's Competition Policy Center.