Diane Schanzenbach

Diane Schanzenbach

Faculty Fellow, Institute for Policy Research
Associate Professor, Human Development and Social Policy

Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach is an associate professor in the School of Education and Social Policy at Northwestern University, a faculty fellow in the Institute for Policy Research, and a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research. She is also a research consultant at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. She studies policies aimed at improving the lives of children in poverty, including education, health, and income support policies. Her recent work has focused on tracing the impact of major public policies such as the Food Stamp Program and early childhood education on children’s long-term outcomes. Her recent paper with Susan Dynarski and Joshua Hyman on the impact of small classes in the early grades on college enrollment and completion won the Raymond Vernon Prize for the best article published in the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management in 2013.


Her research has received financial support from the US Department of Agriculture, the US Department of Education, the Spencer Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the Smith-Richardson Foundation, and has been published in the Quarterly Journal of Economics, American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, the Review of Economics and Statistics, and the Journal of Public Economics, among other outlets.


Prior to joining the Northwestern faculty in 2010, Schanzenbach taught at the Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago and was a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Post-Doctoral Scholar in Health Policy Research at the University of California, Berkeley. She graduated magna cum laude from Wellesley College in 1995 with a BA in economics and religion, and received a PhD in economics in 2002 from Princeton University.

Curriculum Vitae
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2013 - Raymond Vernon Memorial Prize for the Best Research Article Published in the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management

2012 - Research Associate, National Bureau of Economic Research, 2012–present

2009 - Faculty Research Fellow, National Bureau of Economic Research

2005 - Visiting Scholar, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, 2005–present

2002 - Scholar in Health Policy Research, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, University of California-Berkeley, August 2002–July 2004

2001 - Peggy Howard Fellowship, Wellesley College

2000 - Woodrow Wilson Fellowship, Princeton University, 2000–2002

1997 - National Science Foundation Traineeship in the Economics of Education, 1997–2000


Year Degree Institution
2002 PhD, Economics Princeton University
1999 MA, Economics Princeton University
1995 AB, Economics and Religion Wellesley College

Selected Publications
Hoynes, H., and D. W. Schanzenbach (2012). Work incentives and the Food Stamp Program. Journal of Public Economics 96(1-2): 151–62.

Almond, D., H. Hoynes, and D. W. Schanzenbach (2011). Inside the war on poverty: The impact of food stamps on birth outcomes. Review of Economics and Statistics 93(2): 387–404.

Anderson, P., K. Butcher, E. Cascio, and D. W. Schanzenbach (2011). Is being in school better? The impact of school on children’s BMI when starting age is endogenous. Journal of Health Economics 30(5): Journal of Health Economics 30(5).

Chetty, R., J. Friedman, N. Hilger, E. Saez, D. W. Schanzenbach, and D. Yagan (2011). How does your kindergarten classroom affect your earnings? Evidence from Project STAR. Quarterly Journal of Economics 126(4): 1593–1660.

Neal, D., and D. W. Schanzenbach (2010). Left behind by design: Proficiency counts and test-based accountability. The Review of Economics and Statistics 92(2): 263-83.

Bertrand, M., and D. W. Schanzenbach (May, 2009). Time Use and Food Consumption. American Economic Review 99(2): 70-76.

Schanzenbach, Diane (2009). Do School Lunches Contribute to Childhood Obesity?. Journal of Human Resources: 44(3): 684-709.

Schanzenbach, Diane with Phillip B. Levine (2009). The Impact of Children’s Health Insurance Expansions on Educational Outcomes. Forum for Health Economics & Policy: 12(1): Article 1.

Schanzenbach, Diane with Melissa Clark and Jesse Rothstein (2009). Selection Bias in College Admissions Test Scores. Economics of Education Review: 28: 295-307.

Schanzenbach, Diane with Hoynes, H., and D. W. Schanzenbach Hoynes (2009). Consumption responses to in-kind transfers: Evidence from the introduction of the food stamp program. American Economic Journal: Applied Economics 1(4): 109-39.

Research Interests
Early childhood education; accountability policy; economics of education; obesity; anti-poverty policy; education and health.


HDSP 410 Quantitative Methods I: Probability and Statistics This course serves as an introduction to the quantitative methods sequence and will cover applied statistical methods. The course will provide useful tools for students who intend to conduct their own statistical analyses, as well as those who want to become critical consumers of others’ analyses. Topics to be covered include descriptive measures; basic probability; sampling and sample size estimation; hypothesis testing; techniques for analyzing categorical data; ANOVA; presenting and describing statistical results.
HDSP 428 Educational Policy: Design, Implementation, and Effects School reform has become a regular fixture in public, professional, and academic deliberations about our nation's schools. In the past couple of decades, educational reform proposals have grown significantly as both state and federal governments have become increasingly interested in developing education policies. This course will provide students with an introduction to key issues in K-12 educational policy. The course is designed to develop students’ abilities to examine, analyze and critique education policies, education policy-making, and education policy implementation. Further, students will develop an appreciation for issues relating to policy effects. Given the vastness of the terrain, the course will be grounded in three education policy/reform initiatives that have gained considerable currency over the past decade: (1) Standards and Accountability (2) Teacher Quality & (3) School Choice - Vouchers and Charter Schools.
LRN_SCI 410 Topics: Quantitative Methods 1
LRN_SCI 451 Topics: Educational Policy
SOC_POL 330 Economics of Social Policy Students learn core economic concepts and empirical tools to analyze the design and effects of social policies. Topics include the social safety net (welfare, food stamps, Social Security,earned income tax credit, unemployment insurance),health insurance, minimum wage, and taxation. Prerequisites: ECON 202 and SESP 210 or equivalent.

Last Updated: 2014-10-02 12:44:11