Maya Buenaventura

Maya Buenaventura
Policy Researcher; Professor of Policy Analysis, Pardee RAND Graduate School


J.D. in law, Northwestern University; Ph.D. in public policy, Pardee RAND Graduate School; B.A. in economics, Oglethorpe University


Maya Buenaventura is a policy researcher at RAND and a professor of policy analysis at the Pardee RAND Graduate School. She employs quantitative and qualitative methods on a variety of projects, including program evaluation and empirical legal studies. Prior to RAND, she was a senior research manager at the California Policy Lab at UCLA where she led a portfolio of homelessness prevention projects. She has served as a Los Angeles County Management Fellow for the Department of Consumer and Business Affairs where she designed and implemented programs to address complex policy issues such as high-cost loans and legalization of street vending. During her previous tenure at RAND as a Ph.D. candidate and assistant policy researcher, she performed evaluations of indigent defense systems and programs that serve children and families, justice-involved individuals, and individuals experiencing homelessness. She also worked on projects that explored legal and policy implications of autonomous vehicle technology, workforce collaboration between the United States Air Force and commercial airlines, and purchased care at the Department of Veterans Affairs. Prior to her public policy career, she spent seven years as litigator handling defense of consumer finance and product liability matters. She represented asylum seekers, victims of trafficking, and victims of domestic abuse in immigration court on a pro bono basis. She is currently a volunteer Court Appointed Special Advocate. She is also a member of Homelessness Policy Research Institute (HPRI). She received her J.D. from Northwestern University and her Ph.D. in public policy from the Pardee RAND Graduate School.

Concurrent Non-RAND Positions

Selected Publications

M. A. Buenaventura, "Cost-Benefit Analysis of Georgia’s Proposed Dream Act: A Bill to Grant In-State Tuition to Undocumented Students in Georgia," Georgetown Immigration Law Journal, 2016

Goldman, Charles; Schweig, Jonathan; Buenaventura, Maya; and Wright, Cameron, Geographic and Demographic Representativeness of Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps, RAND Corporation (RR-1712), 2017

Cefalu, Matthew; Buenaventura, Maya, Toolkit for Weighting and Analysis of Nonequivalent Groups: A Tutorial on the TWANG MNPS Commands for Stata Users, RAND Corporation (TL-170z1), 2017

von Wachter, T., Santillano, R., Rountree, J., Buenaventura, M., Gibson, L., Nunn, A., & Arbolante, A., Preventing Homelessness: Evidence-Based Methods to Screen Adults and Families at Risk of Homelessness in Los Angeles, California Policy Lab, UCLA, 2020

von Wachter, T., Rountree, J., Buenaventura, M., Blackwell, B., & Obermark, D., Evaluation of LA County Measure H-Funded Homelessness Prevention Strategies, California Policy Lab, UCLA, 2019

Anderson, J.; Buenaventura, M.; and Heaton, P., "The Effects of Holistic Defense on Criminal Justice Outcomes," Harvard Law Review, 2019

Winkelman, Zev, Maya Buenaventura, James M. Anderson, Nahom M. Beyene, Pavan Katkar, and Greg Baumann, When Autonomous Vehicles Are Hacked, Who Is Liable?RAND Corporation (RR-2654-RC), 2019

Cannon, Jill S., M. Rebecca Kilburn, Lynn A. Karoly, Teryn Mattox, Ashley N. Muchow, and Maya Buenaventura, Investing Early: Taking Stock of Outcomes and Economic Returns from Early Childhood Programs, RAND Corporation (RR-1993-RWJF), 2017


Spanish; French