Bill Gelfeld

Photo of Bill Gelfeld
Assistant Policy Researcher; Ph.D. Candidate, Pardee RAND Graduate School
Santa Monica Office


M.A. in international relations, Johns Hopkins SAIS; M.A. in education, Stanford University; M.A. in history, University of Texas at San Antonio; B.A. in economics, political science, Duke University


Bill Gelfeld is a doctoral candidate at the Pardee RAND Graduate School and an assistant policy researcher at RAND. Since coming to RAND, he has worked on several international development projects including an infectious disease vulnerability index, an evaluation of a Gates Foundation family planning project in Africa, a report on Ebola hotspots, affordable housing initiatives in India, and applications of RAND's Food Energy Water Index. He has also served as an adjunct professor at Santa Monica College, teaching two Introduction to Public Policy courses. He graduated with distinction from the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies in 2010 with a concentration in international development and emerging markets. His undergraduate degree was in economics and political science, and he holds master’s degrees in history and education.

Before coming to RAND, he primarily worked in emergency and disaster relief in fragile states, including the Central African Republic and Haiti, among others. He has taught graduate- and undergraduate-level economics courses and served as an officer in the U.S. Air Force from 1996 to 2000.  His research interests include governance, economic development, poverty and inequality, and international relations.

Recent Projects

  • Evaluation of Gates Foundation Family Planning Project
  • Infectious Disease Vulnerability Index
  • Affordable Housing in India
  • Mitigating the Effects of Ebola in Potential Hotspots
  • Pardee RAND Re-Imagining Project

Selected Publications

Bill Gelfeld, "Institutions Before Elections in the Central African Republic," SAIS Perspectives, 0, 2014

Bill Gelfeld, "Corruption in Emergency and Disaster Relief," SAIS Perspectives, 0, 2010

Melinda Moore, Bill Gelfeld, Adeyemi Okunogbe, Christopher Paul, Identifying Future Disease Hotspots, RAND (RR-1605), 2016

Bill Gelfeld, Shira Efron, Melinda Moore, Jonah Blank, Mitigating the Impact of Ebola in Potential Hot Zones: A Proof-of-Concept Approach to Help Decisionmakers Prepare for High-Risk Scenarios Outside Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, RAND (PE-146), 2015

Michael J. McNerney, Christopher M. Schnaubelt, Agnes Gereben Schaefer, Martina Melliand, Bill Gelfeld, Improving DoD Support to FEMA’s All-Hazards Plans, RAND (RR-1301), 2015

Honors & Awards

  • Pardee Global Initiative Dissertation Award, Pardee RAND Graduate School
  • Graduation with Distinction, Johns Hopkins University SAIS
  • Teaching Assistant of the Year, Johns Hopkins University SAIS


  • Wang Qishan walks past Zhang Dejiang, Chinese President Xi Jinping, and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang at the opening session of the National People's Congress in Beijing, China, March 5, 2018

    One Belt, One Road, One Ruler: China Term Limits Ban Imperils Progress

    The abolition of presidential term limits in China represents a sea change in Communist Party politics and signals the consolidation of personalist rule by President Xi Jinping. Deviations from term limits are deleterious for good governance, political rights, and accountability.

    Mar 6, 2018 United Press International