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David Figlio Named Director of Institute for Policy Research

Education economist will take over in September 2012

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September 21, 2011 | by Hilary Hurd Anyaso

EVANSTON, Ill. --- David Figlio, an education economist, will become the sixth director of the Institute for Policy Research (IPR) at Northwestern University, effective Sept. 1, 2012.

Figlio is an IPR fellow and the Orrington Lunt Professor of Education and Social Policy in Northwestern’s School of Education and Social Policy, with a courtesy appointment in the department of economics. He is also the first chair of IPR’s research program in education policy.

“Vice President Jay Walsh and I are delighted that David will take over leadership of the institute,” said IPR’s current director Fay Lomax Cook, who will continue as an IPR fellow and a professor of human development and social policy at Northwestern when her third term as director ends. “David is an outstanding scholar, and we are confident that his leadership will play a crucial role in continuing to grow and support the excellent interdisciplinary and policy-relevant research for which IPR’s community of scholars is known.”

A leading national scholar on education policies and interventions, Figlio explores issues from school accountability and standards to welfare policy and policy design. His current research projects involve evaluating the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program, the largest school-voucher program in the United States; conducting a large-scale study of school accountability in Florida using a state census of public school principals; and following children from birth through their school years to study issues related to early childhood policy and inequality. He received his Ph.D. in economics from the University of Wisconsin–Madison in 1995.

Figlio has published in many of his field’s top journals and has served as inaugural editor of the American Education Finance Association’s journal, Education Finance and Policy (MIT Press). He is co-editor of the Journal of Human Resources and associate editor of the American Economic Journal—Economic Policy and the Journal of Urban Economics. Media outlets, including The New York Times, Newsweek and The Chronicle of Higher Education, have covered his research. 

In addition to his Northwestern and IPR appointments, Figlio is also a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research and a member of the executive board of the National Center for the Analysis of Longitudinal Data in Education Research, or CALDER. He has been a member of many national education task forces and panels, such as the National Research Council’s Panel on K-12 Science Assessment, and has advised several U.S. states, as well as foreign countries, on the design, implementation and evaluation of education policies.

“IPR is an extraordinary and vibrant institution committed to producing the highest-quality and most relevant policy research possible,” Figlio said. “Fay Cook has led IPR with creativity, wisdom and vision, and I am honored to follow in her footsteps as IPR evolves to meet the policy research challenges of the future.” 

During the 2011-12 academic year, Figlio will serve as associate director, succeeding IPR fellow and professor of political science Wesley G. Skogan, who will be stepping down after four years in the position.

The Institute for Policy Research is one of the nation’s leading academic social policy research institutes. Founded in 1968, IPR faculty conduct research at the forefront of a wide range of pressing social questions, including many related to poverty, race, inequality, education reform, and social disparities and health, among others.

Topics: University