Claudia Persico

Claudia Persico

Claudia Persico is a doctoral candidate in Human Development and Social Policy. Her research interests include education inequality and policy, early childhood education, causes of low performance among urban children, and socioeconomic disparities in health. Prior to attending Northwestern University, Claudia worked as a research assistant studying the neurobiology of autism in the Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology at the Boston University School of Medicine. Claudia has also worked at several nonprofits, including The Autism Research Foundation and Strive Tutoring. 

2014 - Society, Biology and Health Fellowship

2013 - Institute for Policy Research Graduate Fellowship


Year Degree Institution
2014 MA, Human Dev & Social Pol Northwestern University
2009 MA, Philosophy of Religion University of Chicago
2004 BA, Biology Boston University

Selected Presentations
Figlio, D., Persico, C., Roth, J. (2015). Inequality Before Birth: The Developmental Consequences of Environmental Toxicants.  AEFP presentation. Washington, D.C..

Currie, J., Figlio, D., Goodman, J. Persico, C., Roth, J. (November, 2013). A Population-level Study of the Effects of Early Intervention for Autism. Presentations at APPAM and AEFP. Washington, D.C..


Works In Progress
2014 The Effect of School Finance Reforms on the Distribution of Spending, Academic Achievement, and Adult Outcomes
The school finance reforms (SFRs) that began in the early 1970s and accelerated in the 1980s caused some of the most dramatic changes in the structure of K12 education spending in U.S. history. We analyze the effects of these reforms on the level and distribution of school district spending, as well as their effects on subsequent educational and economic outcomes.

2015 The Effects of School Spending on Educational and Economic Outcomes: Evidence from School Finance Reforms
Since Coleman (1966), many have questioned whether school spending affects student outcomes. The school finance reforms that began in the early 1970s and accelerated in the 1980s caused some of the most dramatic changes in the structure of K12 education spending in US history. To study the effect of these school-finance-reform-induced changes in school spending on long-run adult outcomes, we link school spending and school finance reform data to detailed, nationally-representative data on children born between 1955 and 1985 and followed through 2011. We use the timing of the passage of court-mandated reforms, and their associated type of funding formula change, as an exogenous shifter of school spending and we compare the adult outcomes of cohorts that were differentially exposed to school finance reforms, depending on place and year of birth. Event-study and instrumental variable models reveal that a 10 percent increase in per-pupil spending each year for all twelve years of public school leads to 0.27 more completed years of education, 7.25 percent higher wages, and a 3.67 percentage-point reduction in the annual incidence of adult poverty; effects are much more pronounced for children from low-income families. Exogenous spending increases were associated with sizable improvements in measured school quality, including reductions in student-to-teacher ratios, increases in teacher salaries, and longer school years.

Last Updated: 2015-04-22 18:21:25