Faculty Research Informs White House Report

Faculty Research Informs White House Report

Kirabo Jackson, Ofer Malamud, Diane Schanzenbach and Terri SabolFaculty members Kirabo Jackson (top left clockwise), Ofer Malamud, Diane Schanzenbach and Terri SabolAn influential White House report on the nation’s economic progress cites research by four Northwestern University School of Education and Social Policy faculty members in areas from early education and school funding to college readiness.

The “Economic Report of the President,” which was presented to Congress with the White House Council of Economic Advisers’ annual report, draws on important findings from economists Kirabo Jackson, Ofer Malamud, and Diane Schanzenbach; and psychologist Terri Sabol. All are faculty members in human development and social policy.

While a Council of Economic Advisers’ report is one of the highest-profile research-driven reports in U.S. policymaking, research by SESP faculty members is used by school districts, state legislatures and national agencies.

SESP scholars have also testified before Congress, helped change state laws, served as advisors, and influenced other notable researchers. In 2021, research by Jackson and Schanzenbach was cited multiple times in the scientific background document justifying the 2021 Nobel Prize in Economics.

Below, we round up the research cited in the 2023 White House report.

On early childhood education:

Head Start programs lead to benefits later in life, including higher earnings, reduced poverty, and lower incarceration rates, according to research by Jackson, a labor economist and the Abraham Harris Professor of Human Development and Social Policy.

The study: Reducing Inequality through Dynamic Complementarity: Evidence from Head Start and Public School Spending

Free preschool programs can increase enrollment and test scores and high-quality kindergartens can improve the lives of children when they reach adulthood, according to work by Diane Schanzenbach, former director of Northwestern’s Institute for Policy Research and the Margaret Walker Alexander Professor of Human Development and Social Policy.

The studies:

On school spending:

Resources matter for students in kindergarten through twelfth grade, particularly for low-income students, according to research by Jackson and SESP alumna, Claudia Persico (PhD16). They find that increasing school funding benefits children later in life.

The study: The Effects of School Spending on Educational and Economic Outcomes: Evidence from School Finance Reforms.

On childhood development:

Research by Terri Sabol associate professor of human development and social policy, suggests that stable, attached child–caregiver relationships in children’s earliest years are foundational for healthy development.

The study: Recent trends in research on teacher-child relationships.

On food insecurity

Schanzenbach finds sizable benefits of increasing low-income families’ access to food stamps, now called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), including improving children's health as adults and increasing their mothers’ economic independence.

The studies:

On higher education

Four-year colleges do have clear benefits, but they might not be best for everyone, according to research by Ofer Malamud.

The study: Is College a Worthwhile Investment?

On the cost of climate change

Research coauthored by Jonathan Guryan, the Lawyer Taylor Professor of Education and Social Policy, suggest that very hot temperatures have adverse effects—including increasing premature death and worsening of the health of newborn babies.

The study: Climate Change and Birth Weight

This story was adapted from a story by Northwestern's Institute for Policy Research.


By SESP News
Last Modified: 8/10/23