The ventricular zone (VZ) of the embryonic dorsal telencephalon is a major site for generating cortical projection neurons. The transcription factor Pax6 is highly expressed in apical progenitors (APs) residing in the VZ from the earliest stages of corticogenesis. Previous studies mainly focused on Pax6−/− mice have implicated Pax6 in regulating cortical progenitor proliferation, neurogenesis, and formation of superficial cortical layers. We analyzed the developing cortex of PAX77 transgenic mice that overexpress Pax6 in its normal domains of expression. We show that Pax6 overexpression increases cell cycle length of APs and drives the system toward neurogenesis. These effects are specific to late stages of corticogenesis, when superficial layer neurons are normally generated, in cortical regions that express Pax6 at the highest levels. The number of superficial layer neurons is reduced in postnatal PAX77 mice, whereas radial migration and lamina specification of cortical neurons are not affected by Pax6 overexpression. Conditional deletion of Pax6 in cortical progenitors at midstages of corticogenesis, by using a tamoxifen-inducible Emx1-CreER line, affected both numbers and specification of late-born neurons in superficial layers of the mutant cortex. Our analyses suggest that correct levels of Pax6 are essential for normal production of superficial layers of the cortex.