Gema Zamarro

Photo of Gema Zamarro
Adjunct Economist
Off Site Office


Ph.D. in economics, CEMFI (Central Bank of Spain foundation)


Gema Zamarro is an adjunct economist at the RAND Corporation. Prior to joining RAND, Zamarro was an assistant professor in the Department of Econometrics at Tilburg University in the Netherlands and a junior research fellow at NETSPAR (Network for Studies on Pensions, Aging and Retirement). Zamarro has conducted research on applied econometrics in the areas of labor, health, and education. She recently completed studies on heterogeneity in returns to education, on the relationship between teacher quality and student performance, on how school closing policies affect student achievement, and on the causal effect of retirement on health. Her current education research focuses on analyzing the determinants of school choice and on studying the properties of value-added methods for estimating teacher quality. In addition, she is researching the pathways to better health in retirement, the effects of induced entry into Social Security Disability Insurance, and the determinants and consequences of low health literacy and financial literacy. Zamarro received her Ph.D. at CEMFI (Center for Monetary and Financial Studied) in Madrid.

Recent Projects

  • Teacher quality and student performance
  • Determinants of school choice
  • Estimating returns to schooling
  • Retirement effects on health
  • School closings and student outcomes

Selected Publications

J. Engberg, B. Gill, G. Zamarro & R. Zimmer, "Closing Schools in a Shrinking District: Do Student Outcomes Depend on Which Schools are Closed?" Journal of Urban Economics, 71:189-203, 2012

R. Fonseca, K. J. Mullen, G. Zamarro and J. Zissimopoulos, "What Explains the Gender Gap in Financial Literacy? The Role of Household Decision-Making," Journal of Consumer Affairs, 2012

Norma B. Coe and Gema Zamarro, "Retirement Effects on Health in Europe," Journal of Health Economics, 30:77-86, 2011

Gema Zamarro, "Accounting for Heterogeneous Returns in a Sequential Model for Schooling Decisions," Journal of Econometrics, 156:260-276, 2010

Richard Buddin & Gema Zamarro, "Teacher Qualifications and Student Achievement in Urban Elementary Schools," Journal of Urban Economics, 66:103–115, 2009

Honors & Awards

  • Prize for the first-rank student obtaining a degree in Economics in the year 2000, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid
  • Ph.D. in Economics cum laude (2005), UNED