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About Us

Randall Reback – Associate Professor of Economics

Randall Reback is an Associate Professor of Economics and Urban Studies at Barnard College and a Faculty Research Fellow at Columbia University’s Institute for Social and Economic Policy Research.  He also holds a courtesy appointment at Teachers College and is a faculty member at the Columbia Population Research Center.  Professor Reback's research focuses on the economics of education, especially as it relates to domestic elementary and secondary school policies.  He has published research articles concerning school accountability programs, inter-district school choice policies, teacher labor markets, and schools’ mental health services.  He received his Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Michigan and a B.A. in Economics and M.A. in Education Research from Stanford University.  Prior to graduate school, Professor Reback taught 5th grade in the Ravenswood School District in East Palo Alto, California.

Barnard College
3009 Broadway
013 Lehman Hall
New York, NY 10027

Phone: 212-854-5005


Jonah Rockoff – Associate Professor of Business

Jonah E. Rockoff is Sidney Taurel Associate Professor of Business at the Columbia Graduate School of Business and a Faculty Research Fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research. Professor Rockoff’s interests center on local public finance and the economics of education. He has done research on the determinants of property taxation and expenditure in local public school districts, the impact of crime risk on local property values, the importance of teachers and teacher certification in determining student achievement, subjective and objective evaluation of teacher performance, and other educational policies such as charter schools, school accountability systems, class size reductions, and grade configuration. He received his Ph.D. in Economics from Harvard University and a B.A. in Economics from Amherst College.

Columbia Business School
3022 Broadway
Uris Hall 603
New York, NY 10027

Phone: (212) 854-9799


Heather Schwartz - Associate Policy Researcher, RAND

Dr. Heather Schwartz is an associate policy researcher at RAND.  Her research examines education and housing policies intended to reduce the negative effects of poverty on children and families. Her work falls in four policy areas intended to help close the income achievement gap: economically integrative housing and school programs, early childhood learning opportunities, school choice, and school accountability measures. She is interested in experimental and non-experimental methods to make causal inferences about the effects of public policies. She recently completed a study of the academic benefits during elementary school of economic integration in schools and neighborhoods for low-income students whose families were randomly assigned to affordable housing in Montgomery County, MD. She currently leads two studies of the effects of economically integrative housing on access to low-poverty schools and on children’s and adults social networks. She received a Ph.D. from Columbia University’s Teachers College in Education Policy and a B.A. from Swarthmore College in English.

RAND Corporation
650 Poydras Street, Suite 1400
New Orleans, LA 70130

Phone: 504-299-3404


Elizabeth Davidson – Doctoral Candidate, Columbia University

Elizabeth Davidson is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Economics and Education program at Teachers College, Columbia University. Along with Heather Schwartz and other invaluable research assistants, Elizabeth collected and managed the data available on this site.  Prior to Columbia, she was a high school math teacher in Philadelphia, PA and received her Master’s Degree in Urban Education from the University of Pennsylvania. Elizabeth’s interests include socio-economic and minority student achievement gaps, school accountability, improving teacher and administrator quality, and student selection and attrition in charter schools.  Elizabeth’s dissertation research examines the effects of accountability policies on school restructuring and closure.  This summer, she will serve as the Summer School Principal of North Star Academy Charter School in Newark, NJ.

Teachers College
1230 Amsterdam Ave #612
New York, NY 10027

Phone: 706-224-1147

Contact Us

Randall Reback, Barnard College
Jonah Rockoff, Columbia Business School
Heather Schwarz, RAND Corporation
Elizabeth Davidson, Teachers College


This work was funded by grants from the Spencer Foundation (200900082) and the Institute for Education Sciences (R305A090032).

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