Paul Heaton

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Adjunct Economist
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Ph.D. and M.A. in economics, University of Chicago; B.A. in economics, Brigham Young University

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Paul Heaton is an adjunct economist at the RAND Corporation. From 2012 to 2015, he was director of RAND's Institute for Civil Justice, and he currently is a senior fellow at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, where he codirects the Quattrone Center for the Fair Administration of Justice. Much of his research aims to apply methodological insights from economics to inform issues in legal and criminal justice policy. He coauthored the first comprehensive examination of earnings loss and disability compensation among veterans injured or killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Other work examines how the structure of insurance markets affects safety, medical care, and fraud; how attorneys impact criminal case outcomes; and how drug control strategies influence criminal activity.

Heaton's prior work examines topics such as court budgeting, racial profiling, and police technology use. His research has been published in leading scholarly journals such as the New England Journal of Medicine, Yale Law Journal, Journal of Law and Economics, American Journal of Public Health, and Journal of Labor Economics. In 2010–2011 he was a Stephen Carroll Distinguished Scholar in ICJ, and in both 2015 and 2010 he received the Edwin Huddleson Jr. Outstanding Teacher Award from the Pardee RAND Graduate School. Heaton received his Ph.D. in economics from the University of Chicago, where he was a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow.

Recent Projects

  • Examining how insurance regulation affects the costs and availability of insurance
  • Understanding linkages between the health care system and tort system
  • Evaluating public policies designed to reduce substance use and crime

Selected Publications

Paul Heaton, Beau Kilmer, Nancy Nicosia, and Greg Midgette, "Efficacy of Active Monitoring with Swift, Certain, and Modest Sanctions for Violations: Insights from South Dakota’s 24/7 Sobriety Project," American Journal of Public Health, 103(1), 2013

Paul Heaton, James Anderson, "How Much Difference Does the Lawyer Make? The Effects of Defense Counsel on Murder Case Outcomes," Yale Law Journal, 122(1), 2012

Paul Heaton, "Sunday Liquor Laws and Crime," Journal of Public Economics, 96(1-2), 2012

Paul Heaton, Spencer Jones, Robert Rudin and Eric Schneider, "Unraveling the IT Productivity Paradox: Lessons for Health Care," New England Journal of Medicine, 366(24), 2012

Paul Heaton, Eric Helland, "Judicial Expenditures and Litigation Access: Evidence from Auto Injuries," Journal of Legal Studies, 40(2), 2011

Luis Garicano, Paul Heaton, "Information Technology, Organization, and Productivity in the Public Sector: Evidence from Police Departments," Journal of Labor Economics, 28(1), 2010

Paul Heaton, "Understanding the Effects of Anti-Profiling Policies," Journal of Law and Economics, 53(1), 2010

Paul Heaton, David Loughran and Amalia Miller, Compensating Wounded Warriors: An Analysis of Injury, Labor Market Earnings, and Disability Compensation Among Veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars, RAND Corporation (MG-1166), 2012

Honors & Awards

  • RAND Gold Medal Award, RAND Corporation, 2012
  • Stephen J. Carroll Distinguished Scholar in Insurance and Liability Policy, RAND Institute for Civil Justice, 2011
  • Huddleson Outstanding Teacher Award, Pardee RAND Graduate School, 2010 and 2015


  • An injured man and his wife examine a bill

    Tax Reform Could Raise Car Insurance Rates

    The new tax law eliminates the individual mandate. When this repeal takes effect in 2019, millions more Americans are expected to go without health insurance. Auto insurers will likely pick up the tab for some of that population's medical care. That could raise car insurance premiums.

    Feb 4, 2018 U.S. News & World Report

  • Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey,Navy Memorial,Navy Yard Shooting,Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel

    Americans' Hearts, but Not Necessarily Wallets, Will Be Open for Victims of Navy Yard Shootings

    Comparisons are already being drawn between Monday's terrible events in the Washington Navy Yard and other recent high profile mass shootings, including those that occurred last year in Newtown, Conn., and Aurora, Colo. However, one way in which this shooting may differ from other events is in who — if anybody — provides financial compensation for those who are injured.

    Sep 18, 2013 The RAND Blog

  • Short-Term Savings, Long-Term Losses: When Police Departments Respond to Economic Pressure by Cutting Their Forces

    Many police departments around the United States have faced budget cuts recently. Ultimately, say Paul Heaton and Brian Jackson, for police services, as with most other things, you get what you pay for.

    Nov 12, 2012 The RAND Blog

  • A man driving in a tunnel

    PIP Mandate Keeps Michigan's Auto Premiums High

    By offering consumers more flexibility in personal injury protection (PIP) coverage, the Michigan legislature can reduce costs for many drivers while enabling those who want the best coverage to continue to buy it, writes Paul Heaton.

    Jul 18, 2012 The Detroit News

  • physician with laptop

    Unraveling the IT Productivity Paradox—Lessons for Health Care

    Although health care organizations have favorable characteristics that can maximize IT's benefits, the reengineering of health care delivery is only beginning, write Spencer Jones, Paul Heaton, Robert Rudin, and Eric Schneider.

    Jun 14, 2012 New England Journal of Medicine

  • LAPD officers stand guard during celebrations after the Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Boston Celtics in Game 7 of the 2010 NBA Finals basketball series in Los Angeles June 17, 2010, photo by Mario Anzuoni/Reuters

    Save Money Hire Police

    The high cost of crime to society suggests that adding police officers may give large cities a sizable return on their investments, write Greg Ridgeway and Paul Heaton.

    Nov 22, 2011 Los Angeles Times

  • Do Higher Crime Rates Cause a Decrease in Religiosity?

    If we observe that high crime and low levels of religious belief or high levels of belief and low crime go hand in hand, how should we interpret that correlation? asks Paul Heaton.

    Mar 1, 2010