Susan Dynarski

Professor, School of Education; Professor of Public Policy, Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy; Professor, Department of Economics, College of Literature, Science, and the Arts

Susan  Dynarski, School of Education

Susan Dynarski studies and teaches the economics of education and has a special interest in the interaction of inequality and education. She is a faculty research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research. Dynarski has studied the impact of grants and loans on college attendance; the distributional aspects of college savings incentives; and the costs and benefits of simplifying the financial aid system. She is a principal investigatorI on a large-scale project to develop a longitudinal, student-level, research database in Michigan. Her current research focuses on the effect of charter schools, improving student outcomes in community colleges, and the effect of early childhood interventions on adult well-being. She has testified on her research to the U.S. Senate Finance Committee, the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee, and the President's Commission on Tax Reform. Dynarski earned an MPP at Harvard and a PhD in economics at MIT.

Dynarski teaches courses in the following program(s):
Higher Education
Higher Education and Master of Public Policy (Dual Degree)
Public Policy in Postsecondary Education
Research, Evaluation, and Assessment
Education and Statistics (Dual Degree)
Higher Education Public Policy


Selected Publications

“Who Benefits from KIPP?”  Forthcoming. Journal of Policy Analysis and Management. Coauthors: Joshua Angrist, Thomas Kane, Parag Pathak and Chris Walters.

“Student Aid Simplification: Looking Back and Looking Ahead.”  2012. National Tax Journal 65:1, pp. 211-234. Coauthor: Mark Wiederspan. Also published as: NBER Working Paper 17834

“Cheaper By the Dozen: Using Sibling Discounts at Catholic Schools to Estimate the Price Elasticity of Private School Attendance.”  2011. NBER working paper 15461. Revise and resubmit, Journal of Political Economy. Coauthors: Jonathan Gruber and Danielle Li. 

“Accountability and Flexibility in Public Schools: Evidence from Boston's Charters and Pilots.” 2011. Quarterly Journal of Economics 126:2, pp. 649-748. Coauthors: Atila Abdulkadiroglu, Joshua Angrist, Thomas Kane and Parag Pathak.

“Experimental Evidence on the Effect of Childhood Investments on Postsecondary Attainment and Degree Completion.” 2011. NBER Working Paper 17533. Coauthors: Joshua Hyman and Diane Schanzenbach.

“Inputs and Impacts in Charter Schools: KIPP Lynn.” American Economic Review Papers and  Proceedings. 2010. Coauthors: Joshua Angrist, Thomas Kane, Parag Pathak, and  Christopher Walters. 

“Inequality in Postsecondary Attainment.” 2011. In Greg Duncan and Richard Murnane, eds., Whither Opportunity: Rising Inequality, Schools, and Children's Life Chances, pp. 117-132. New York: Russell Sage Foundation. Coauthor: Martha Bailey. Also published as: NBER Working Paper 17633, Gains and Gaps: Changing Inequality in U.S. College Entry and Completion.

“Into College, Out of Poverty?  Policies to Increase the Postsecondary Attainment of the Poor,” in Phil Levine and David Zimmerman, eds. Targeting Investments in Children: Fighting  Poverty When Resources are Limited. 2010. Also NBER working paper 15387. Co-author:  David Deming.

“Informing the Debate: Comparing Boston’s Charter, Pilot and Traditional Schools.” Boston Foundation Research Report. 2009. Coauthors: Atila Abdulkadiroglu, Josh Angrist,  Sarah Cohodes, Jon Fullerton, Thomas Kane, and Parag Pathak.

“Pell Grants on a Postcard,” in Jason Furman and Jason Bordoff, eds., Path to Prosperity. Brookings: Washington, DC, pp. 227-260. 2008. Coauthor: Judith Scott-Clayton.

“Raising College Enrollment.” Milken Institute Review 10:3, pp. 37-45. 2008.



Research Affiliations


7/1/2011 - ongoing Center for the Study of Postsecondary Education and Employment
Granting Agency: Institute of Education Sciences

3/1/2012 - 2/28/2015 Why are Some Charter Schools More Effective than Others? Econometric Methods and Empirical Evidence from Massachusetts, Michigan, and Texas
Granting Agency: Institute of Education Sciences

3/1/2010 - 12/31/2014 The Impact of the Michigan Merit Curriculum and Promise Scholarship
Granting Agency: Institute of Education Sciences

3/1/2011 - 3/1/2013 Effectiveness of Michigan Charter Schools
Granting Agency: Smith-Richardson Foundation, Institute of Educational Sciences

3/1/2011 - 2/29/2012 Post-Doctoral Training Program in Experimental and Quasi-Experimental Methods for Education Research
Granting Agency: U.S. Department of Education

1/1/2011 - 9/1/2011 Interdisciplinary Workshop on Causal Inference in Education Research
Granting Agency: Rackham Graduate School

2/1/2008 - 1/1/2011 New Evidence on the Relationship between Private Schooling and Academic Outcomes
Granting Agency: Institute of Education Sciences

2/1/2010 - 1/9/2010 State Need-Based Grant Study
Granting Agency: The College Board

2/1/2005 - 1/1/2009 The Uses of Administrative Data for Education Research
Granting Agency: Atlantic Philanthropies/Ford Foundation

2/1/2007 - 1/1/2009 Evaluation of Charter and Magnet Schools in Boston
Granting Agency: Massachusetts Department of Education

Courses & Syllabi

Term Catalogue Course Description Syllabus
Fall 2011 EDUC 820. Causal Inference in Education Research EDUC 820. Causal Inference in Education Research

Fall 2011 EDUC 794. Quantitative Methods for Causal Analysis in Education EDUC 794. Quantitative Methods for Program Evaluation: Focus on Education


Room 2117 F
or 5317 Weill Hall


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