Priscillia Hunt

Photo of Priscillia Hunt
Economist; Professor, Pardee RAND Graduate School
Santa Monica Office


Ph.D. in economics, University of Warwick (UK); M.A. in economics, University of Connecticut; B.A. in international commerce, L'Ecole Superieure de Commerce de Montpellier (France); B.A. in international business, Texas Tech University

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Priscillia Hunt is an economist at the RAND Corporation, professor at Pardee RAND Graduate School, and a research fellow of the Institute of Labor Economics (IZA). Her research focuses on understanding the value of criminal justice-related policies in terms of economic and social costs, benefits, and effectiveness. Hunt conducts experiments to better understand which policies the public prefer (in non-tradable markets). For example, to improve hiring people with a criminal record, her studies show employers place greater value on detailed work history information and availability of replacement workers when needed. Currently, she is studying the value of restorative justice practices to society. This work includes estimating people's willingness-to-pay for justice systems that offer rehabilitation, record-sealing, victim restitution, public accountability, and systems of apology for adults charged with their first misdemeanor offense. She also conducts studies to determine the costs of the criminal justice system. She was lead author of a study awarded Best Article in 2019 from the Journal of Benefit-Cost Analysis on the policing costs of reported crime, and another study on courts and legal service costs of reported crime. Hunt also has numerous studies on the effectiveness of police, court, and corrections strategies. She is currently conducting an RCT of restorative justice diversion to understand the impacts on criminal behavior. Hunt is active on Twitter at @priscilliahunt. She received her Ph.D. in economics from the University of Warwick.

Recent Projects

  • Estimates of Law Enforcement Costs by Crime Type for Benefit-Cost Analyses
  • Experiments into Policies that Incentivize Employers to Hire People with Criminal Records
  • Impacts of a Firearm Letter Program on Gun Violence in Los Angeles
  • The Impact of Chicago's Predictive Policing Experiment on Gun Crime
  • The Impact of Private Police on Crime

Selected Publications

Saunders, J., P. Hunt, and J. Hollywood, "Predictions Put Into Practice: A Quasi-Experimental Evaluation of Chicago's Predictive Policing Pilot," Journal of Experimental Criminology, 2016

P. Hunt, R. Smart, L. Jonsson, and F. Tsang , Breaking Down Barriers: Experiments into Policies That Might Incentivize Employers to Hire Ex-Offenders, RAND (RR-2142), 2018

Heaton, P., P. Hunt, J. Saunders, and J. MacDonald, "Short- and Long-Run Effects of Private Law Enforcement: Evidence from University Police," Journal of Law and Economics, 59(4), 2016

Hunt, P. and R. L. Pacula, "Early Impacts of Marijuana Legalization: An Evaluation of Prices in Colorado and Washington," Journal of Primary Prevention, 38(3), 2017

Hunt, P., J. Saunders, and B. Kilmer, "Estimates of Law Enforcement Costs by Crime Type for Benefit-Cost Analyses," Journal of Benefit-Cost Analysis, 10(1), 2019

Hunt, P., J. Anderson, and J. Saunders, "The price of justice: New national and state-level estimates of the judicial and legal costs of crime to taxpayers," American Journal of Criminal Justice, 2016

Hunt, P., S. Hunter, and D. Levan , "Continuous Quality Improvement in Substance Abuse Treatment Facilities: How Much Does It Cost?” ," Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 77, 2017

Yerushalmi, E., P. Hunt, S. Hoorens, C. Sauboin, and R. Smith, "Exploring the Use of a General Equilibrium Method to Assess the Value of a Malaria Vaccine: An Application to Ghana," Medical Decision Making Policy & Practice, 4(2), 2019

Honors & Awards

  • Award for Best Article in 2019 from Journal of Benefit-Cost Analysis, Journal of Benefit-Cost Analysis
  • RAND Bronze Medal Award


English; French


  • A long line of police squad cars, photo by thall/Getty Images

    Funding—or Defunding—the Police

    With calls to reduce spending on police, a question becomes by how much? RAND researchers studied the average amount taxpayers spend for police to respond to a reported crime. These estimates are available in a new tool that makes it easy to visualize police costs per crime by state.

    Jul 1, 2020 The RAND Blog

  • U.S. Army medical researchers take part in World Malaria Day 2010, Kisumu, Kenya April 25, 2010

    The Economic Promise of Malaria Reduction

    Better understanding of how malaria reduction affects different households, regions, and economic sectors in Sub-Saharan Africa could allow policymakers to assess alternative intervention strategies and allocate resources more efficiently and effectively.

    Apr 24, 2013 The RAND Blog