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Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach

Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach

  • Margaret Walker Alexander Professor of Human Development and Social Policy
  • Director and Faculty Fellow, Institute for Policy Research

2040 Sheridan Road, Evanston, IL 60208
Curriculum Vitae

Affiliated Center(s)

Institute for Policy Research

Research Interests

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


Northwestern Univeristy’s Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach is director of the Institute for Policy Research and the Margaret Walker Alexander Professor in the School of Education and Social Policy. She is also a research associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research. 

Schanzenbach, who was elected to the National Academy of Education in 2019, is a labor economist who 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 SNAP (formerly the Food Stamp Program) and early childhood education on children’s long-term outcomes. 

Schanzenbach was formerly director of the Hamilton Project at the Brookings Institution, an economic policy initiative that promotes policies to enhance broad-based economic growth. She has testified before both the Senate and the House of Representatives on her research.<

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

She graduated magna cum laude from Wellesley College with a BA in economics and religion, and received a PhD in economics from Princeton University.


  • PhD, Economics, Princeton University, 2002
  • MA, Economics, Princeton University, 1999
  • AB, Economics and Religion, Wellesley College, 1995

Honors and Awards

  • 2019 – Elected to the National Academy of Education
  • 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

Selected Publications

Schanzenbach, Diane Whitmore, Gene Amromin, and Leslie McGranahan (Working Paper/In Press/Under Review). Consumer Credit Trends by Income and Geography 2001-2012. Chicago Fed Letter: Forthcoming.

Anderson, Patricia M., K. F. Butcher, and Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach (Working Paper/In Press/Under Review). The effect of school accountability policies on children's health. NBER Working Paper #16873. Education Finance and Policy: conditionally accepted.

Anderson, Patricia, Kristin Butcher, Hilary Hoynes, and Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach (Working Paper/In Press/Under Review). Understanding Food Insecurity during the Great Recession. Mimeo.

Hoynes, Hilary W., Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach, and Douglas Almond (Working Paper/In Press/Under Review). Childhood Exposure to the Food Stamp Program: Long-run Health and Economic Outcomes. American Economic Review: Forthcoming.

Cascio, Elizabeth, and Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach (Working Paper/In Press/Under Review). First in the class? Age and the education production function. NBER Working Paper #13663. Education Finance and Policy: Forthcoming(Download )

Schanzenbach, Diane Whitmore, and Mary Zaki (Working Paper/In Press/Under Review). Expanding the School Breakfast Program: Impacts on Children’s Consumption, Nutrition and Health. NBER Working Paper (No. w20308). Journal of Policy Analysis and Management: revise and resubmit(Download )

Anderson, Patricia, Kristin Butcher, and Diane Whitemore Schanzenbach (May, 2015). Changes in Safety Net Use During the Great Recession. American Economic Review: Papers & Proceedings: 105(2): 161‐165(Download )

Barrow, Lisa, Amy Claessens, and Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach (May, 2015). The impact of Chicago's small high school initiative. Journal of Urban Economics: 87: 100-113. (Download )

Schanzenbach, Diane Whitmore (2015). Class Size in James Wright, International Encyclopedia of Social and Behavioral Sciences London: Elsevier.

Schanzenbach, Diane Whitmore, Hilary Hoynes, and Leslie McGranahan (2015). SNAP and Food Consumption in eds. Judith Bartfeld, Craig Gundersen, Timothy M. Smeeding, and James P. Ziliak, SNAP Matters: How Food Stamps Affect Health and Well Being Palo Alto: Stanford University Press(Download )