Radha Iyengar

radha iyengar
Senior Economist
Washington Office


Ph.D., M.A. in economics, Princeton University; B.S. in economics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Media Resources

This researcher is available for interviews.

To arrange an interview, contact the RAND Office of Media Relations at (310) 451-6913, or email media@rand.org.

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Radha Iyengar is a senior economist at the RAND Corporation. Previously, she served as a member of the Department of Energy Chief of Staff team and the Deputy Chief of Staff to the Deputy Secretary. There she worked on issues related to the budget for both energy and nuclear security, emergency preparedness, clean energy financing, and strategic management of the Department.

Prior to DOE, Iyengar worked at the White House as the Director for Defense Personnel, Readiness, and Partnerships on the National Security Council. Her portfolio included sexual assault in the military, mental health programs for service members and veterans, base security at military installations, accessions policy, security sector assistance reform, and defense strategy and budget initiatives, including contributing to the 2014 Quadrennial Defense Review. She was instrumental in executive actions on sexual assault and suicide prevention. Prior to that, Iyengar was Chief of Staff of the DoD's Office of Special Operations and Low Intensity Conflict and advisor to the Assistant Secretary on security policy issues related to counterterrorism and peacekeeping efforts in the Middle East and Africa.

Before her government service, Iyengar worked as an economist at RAND. Her research has covered empirical evaluations of policies aimed at reducing violence including criminal violence, sexual assault, terrorist behavior, and sexual and intimate partner violence. At the outset of her career, she was an assistant professor at the London School of Economics and a Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Scholar at Harvard. She received her Ph.D. in economics from Princeton University.

Concurrent Non-RAND Positions

Faculty Research Fellow, National Bureau of Economic Research

Selected Publications

Iyengar, Radha. Bahney, Benjamin W., Johnston, Patrick B., Jung, Danielle F., Shapiro, Jacob N., Shatz, Howard J,, "Insurgent Compensation: Evidence from Iraq," American Economic Review, :518-522, 2013

Iyengar, Radha, "Who's the Fairest in the Land? Comparing Judge and Jury Decisions in Capital Cases," Journal of Law and Economics, 2011

Iyengar, Di Tella, Edwards, and Schargrodsky (Eds.), "Does Arrest Deter Violence? Comparing Experimental and Nonexperimental Evidence on Arrest Laws," The Economics of Crime, :421-453, 2010

Iyengar, Radha, "Does the Certainty of Arrest Reduce Domestic Violence? Evidence from Mandatory and Recommended Arrest Laws," Journal of Public Economics, :85-93, 2009

Iyengar, Radha with Ashenfelter, Orley (Eds.), "Economics of Commercial Dispute Arbitration," Economic Approaches to Law, 2009

Iyengar, R., Sabik L., "Measuring Intimate Partner Violence Service Useage Across America Using the National Census on Domestic Violence Services," Health Affairs, :1052-1065, 2009


  • A college campus with a bicycle rack

    Focusing on Tallying the Number of Campus Sexual Assaults Can Make the Problem Worse

    Accurate reporting of sexual violence is important. But counting and reporting assaults shouldn't be confused with polices that focus on making sure universities have the resources and support systems they need to help victims.

    Jan 6, 2017 Dallas Morning News

  • Barbara Hytower, holding a photo of her daughter Jamila who was murdered in Myrtle Beach, stands with other members of South Carolina Mothers Against Violence before the start of a rally, February 25, 2016

    Domestic Warning Signs of Mass Shootings

    After shootings, there is inevitably public debate over gun safety, constitutional rights, police tactics, terrorism, race, and politics. But these discussions rarely focus on a common factor among the perpetrators: a history of violence against women.

    Aug 6, 2016 U.S. News & World Report

  • Islamic Center of Murfreesboro, Tennessee

    Anti-Muslim Rhetoric Is a National Security Threat

    National security and counterterrorism experts agree that rhetoric that paints all Muslims as terrorists or terrorist sympathizers has a high chance of breeding future terrorists. And evidence suggests such language can hamper U.S. efforts to stop terrorists before they strike and to capture them after attacks.

    Apr 13, 2016 War on the Rocks

  • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry delivers a statement that sanctions will be lifted on Iran after the IAEA verified that Iran has met all conditions under the nuclear deal, January 16, 2016

    Iran, Terrorism, and Nonproliferation After the Nuclear Deal

    As Iran re-enters global markets, the Obama administration needs a strategy that accounts for the nuclear deal's potentially adverse implications for U.S. counterterrorism policy as well as its advantages for nonproliferation policy.

    Jan 28, 2016 War on the Rocks

  • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry shakes hands with U.S. Marines during his visit to the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad March 24, 2013

    Benghazi: Questions Unasked and Opportunities Missed

    Instead of asking whether a video precipitated the attack or whether Ambassador Stevens should have been in Benghazi on that fateful night, the right question to ask is under what conditions the United States should have a diplomatic presence in high-risk areas.

    Oct 22, 2015 War on the Rocks

  • The Next War

    To prepare for the interventions to come in the next decade, the United States must adapt the lessons from its experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan and use them to generate a new, more realistic, and feasible doctrine, write Radha Iyengar and Douglas A. Ollivant.

    May 7, 2012 Foreign Policy