Randall Reback

Professor of Economics

Randall Reback is a Professor of Economics at Barnard and a Faculty Affiliate at Columbia University's Population Research Center.  He is also affiliated with Barnard's urban studies program and with the Center for Economic Studies in Munich, Germany.

At Barnard, he has taught such courses as "Econometrics," "Economics of Education," "Spatial Analysis in Urban Economics," and "Child Health, Learning, and Behavior."

Professor Reback has a particular interest in U.S. education policy.  Early in his career, he was a fifth-grade teacher in East Palo Alto, California.  He is currently working on research projects examining the effects of school-based health centers on children's learning, high school graduation rates, and teen birth rates.  He recently completed a new research report (Sept. 2018):  Investments in Students’ Physical and Mental Health, part of Stanford University's Getting Down to Facts project concerning the state of California's public schools.  

Professor Reback's prior research has been recognized by grants and awards from the Spencer Foundation, National Science Foundation,  Institute for Education Sciences, American Education Finance Association, and the National Institute of Mental Health.



Research Page

Selected Papers

 “Mobility, Housing Markets, and Schools: Estimating the Effects of Interdistrict Choice Programs” (w/ Eric Brunner & Sung-woo Cho), Journal of Public Economics 96, August 2012.

“Fifty Ways to Leave a Child Behind: Idiosyncrasies and Discrepancies in States’ Implementation of NCLB” (w/ Elizabeth Davidson & Jonah Rockoff & Heather Schwartz). Educational Researcher 44(6), 2015.

“Buying Their Votes? A Study of Local Tax-Price Discrimination,” Economic Inquiry 53(3), 2015.

“Under Pressure: Job Security, Resource Allocation, and Productivity in Schools under NCLB” (w/ Jonah Rockoff and Heather L. Schwartz).  American Economic Journal: Economic Policy 6(3), August 2014.

“True for Your School? How Changing Reputations Alter Demand for Selective U.S. Colleges.” (w/ Molly Alter). Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis 36(1), March 2014.

“The Fiscal Impacts of Charter Schools: Lessons from New York” (w/ Robert Bifulco), Education Finance and Policy 9(1), Winter 2014.

“Jockeying for Position: Strategic High School Choice under Texas’ Top Ten Percent Rule” (w/ Julie Cullen & Mark Long), Journal of Public Economics 97, January 2013.


B.A. Economics, M.A. Education, Stanford University

Ph.D. Economics, University of Michigan

Related Web Sites: 

In the News

During the 2015-2016 academic year, awards were presented to Barnard's exceptional faculty to honor their commitment to teaching. 

Economics professor collaborates with former research assistant Molly Alter ’10 on study published by the American Educational Research Association

New online database suggests that children are still learning, despite schools' risk of failure.

Coverage of Prof. Reback's work appears in The Washington Post, Inside Higher Education, and The Chronicle of Higher Education.

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