John Engberg

John Engberg
Senior Economist


Ph.D., M.S. in economics, University of Wisconsin–Madison; B.A. in economics, Harvard University

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

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John Engberg (he/him) is a senior economist at the RAND Corporation. He specializes in applied statistical methods and microeconomics. Engberg's research spans the areas of education, crime, health, labor markets, and economic development, with a focus on the evaluation of policies and programs in these areas and their effect on racial disparities. His is currently studying the sources of racial disparities in the criminal justice systems of two large urban U.S. counties, as well as the impact of public defense reform. His education projects include an examination of the Wallace Foundation's Partnerships for Social and Emotional Learning Initiative, an evaluation of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation's Intensive Partnership Sites, and an evaluation of restorative practices in Pittsburgh Public Schools. Prior to joining RAND, Engberg was an associate professor of economics at the Heinz School of Public Policy and Management at Carnegie Mellon University. Engberg received his Ph.D. in economics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. 

Selected Publications

Baird MD, Engberg J, Opper IM, "Optimal Allocation of Seats in the Presence of Peer Effects: Evidence from a Job Training Program," Journal of Labor Economics, 41(2), 2023 (forthcoming)

Johnston WR, Engberg J, Opper IM, Sontag-Padilla L, Xenakis L., Illustrating the Promise of Community Schools: An Assessment of the Impact of the New York City Community Schools Initiative, RAND (RR-3245), 2020

Augustine, CH, Engberg J, Grimm GE, Lee E, Wang EL, Christianson K, and Joseph AA. , Can Restorative Practices Improve School Climate and Curb Suspensions? An Evaluation of the Impact of Restorative Practices in a Mid-Sized Urban School District. , RAND (RR-2840), 2018

Ray KN, Chari AV, Engberg J, Bertolet M, Mehrotra A., "Disparities in Time Spent Seeking Medical Care in the United States," JAMA Internal Medicine , 175(12), 2015

Engberg J, Epple D, Imbrogno J, Sieg H, Zimmer R, "Evaluating Education Programs That Have Lotteried Admission and Selective Attrition," Journal of Labor Economics, 32(1), 2013

Engberg J, Gill B, Zamarro G, Zimmer R, "Closing Schools in a Shrinking District: Do Student Outcomes Depend on Which Schools are Closed?" Journal of Urban Economics, (1), 2012

Engberg J, Morral A, "Reducing Substance Use Improves Adolescents’ School Attendance," Addiction, (101), 2006

Sorensen LC, Acosta MA, Engberg J, Bushway SD, "The Thin Blue Line in Schools: New Evidence on School-Based Policing Across the U.S," Journal of Public Policy and Management, 2023

Recent Media Appearances

Interviews: Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Commentary: Education Week