Radha Iyengar

Photo of Radha Iyengar
Senior Economist
Washington Office


B.S. in economics, MIT; MA in economics, Princeton; PhD in economics, Princeton


Radha Iyengar is a senior economist at the RAND Corporation. Previously, she served as member of the Department of Energy Chief of Staff team and the Deputy Chief of Staff to the Deputy Secretary at the Department of Energy. At the Department of Energy she worked on key issues related to the budget for both energy and nuclear security issues, 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. During her tenure at the White House, her portfolio included sexual assault in the military, mental health for service members, mental health programs for military 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 key executive actions on sexual assault and suicide prevention. Before moving to the White House in 2013, Iyengar was Chief of Staff of the Office of Special Operations and Low Intensity Conflict in the Department of Defense and advisor to the Assistant Secretary on security policy issues related to counterterrorism and peacekeeping efforts in the Middle East and Africa.

Prior to her government service, Iyengar served as an Economist at the RAND Corporation. 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. Raised in New York, she received her undergraduate degree in Economics at MIT and her Masters and Ph.D. in Economics at 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


  • 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