M. Rebecca Kilburn

Senior Economist
Off Site Office


Ph.D. in economics, University of Chicago; M.A. in economics, University of Chicago; B.A. in economics, Kenyon College

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 media@rand.org.

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M. Rebecca Kilburn is a senior economist at the RAND Corporation. She has served as the principal investigator for over a dozen research projects designed to improve knowledge on human capital formation. Her research studies have examined both program implementation and effectiveness, most have employed mixed methods, and they have typically worked closely with community collaborators in order to ensure that the findings are directly useful to stakeholders. She has experience executing randomized trials, cleaning and using administrative data, and collecting data from service providers, families, and children. She has also undertaken systematic reviews and cost and outcome analyses. Kilburn has recently studied home visiting programs for new parents, the four-day school week, and successfully scaling up evidence-based programs. She earned her Ph.D. in economics from the University of Chicago.

Recent Projects

  • Evaluation of the Four-Day School Week
  • Taking Effective School Violence Prevention to Scale
  • Welcome Baby Implementation and Outcomes Evaluation
  • First Born Program Randomized Trial Evaluation
  • Evaluation of Hawaii's P-3 Initiative

Selected Publications

Hunter, Sarah B., M. Rebecca Kilburn, Teryn Mattox, Jill S. Cannon, Terry Marsh, Melissa Felician, Maya Buenaventura, Lauren Davis, and Matthew Cefalu, The Welcome Baby Program: An Implementation and Outcomes Evaluation, RAND Corporation (RR-2440), 2018

Kilburn, M. Rebecca, Kate Lyon, Cyndi Anderson, Pamela Gutman, and Nancy Rumbaugh Whitesell, "Methodological Considerations for Home Visiting Research in Tribal Communities," Infant Mental Health Journal, 2018

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), 2017

Kilburn, M. Rebecca and Jill S. Cannon, "Home Visiting and Utilization of Infant Health Care: A Randomized Clinical Trial," Pediatrics, 139(1), 2017

Zellman, Gail L., and M. Rebecca Kilburn, Final Report on the Hawai’i P-3 Evaluation, RAND Corporation (RR-1100), 2015

"Testimony presented before the House Ways and Means Committee, Subcommittee on Human Resources on April 2, 2014," in Kilburn, M. Rebecca, Evidence on Home Visiting and Suggestions for Implementing Evidence-Based Home Visiting Through MIECHV, RAND Corporation (CT-407), 2014

Kilburn, M. Rebecca and Jill S. Cannon, "Factors that Influence the Successful Start-Up of Home Visiting Sites: Lessons Learned from Replicating the First Born® Program," Journal of Primary Prevention, 36(4), 2015

Mattox, Teryn and M. Rebecca Kilburn, "Understanding Evidence-Based Information for the Early Childhood Field: Tips From RAND's Promising Practices Network," Zero to Three Journal, 32(4), 2012

Honors & Awards

  • Promising Practices Network named Finalist, Harvard's Innovation in American Government Awards

Recent Media Appearances

Interviews: 2 Minute Medicine


  • Woman working at home on a laptop with cat on the desk, photo by Drazen_/Getty Images

    The Lopsided Telework Revolution

    The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated a transition to telework, protecting the jobs and the health of those whose work can be performed remotely. Creative policies in a post-pandemic world are needed to help more broadly distribute the benefits of increased remote work.

    Nov 16, 2020 Route Fifty

  • Children reading in a library

    Hawaii Reading Scores Improved After 'Preschool to Third Grade' Initiative

    Hawaii's “preschool to third-grade” initiative significantly improved third-grade reading scores. The P-3 approach is a promising education reform that should be considered by those seeking to improve early education performance.

    Dec 21, 2015 Honolulu Star-Advertiser

  • Elementary students raising their hands in class

    A Comprehensive Approach to Early Education

    A relatively new approach to improving long-term educational outcomes, called “preschool to third grade,” or P-3, focuses on the youngest students. Hawaii's recent initiative has been successful at raising third-grade reading scores.

    Nov 23, 2015 U.S. News & World Report

  • Social worker conducting a home visit with a new mother

    MIECHV Reauthorization: Recommendations from Research

    Funding for the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting program was extended through fiscal year 2017, without policy changes. If Congress decides to make policy changes to MIECHV in the future, research on home visiting programs can inform recommendations.

    Apr 17, 2015 The RAND Blog

  • U.S. President Barack Obama is introduced to speak by Christian Champagne from Chicago at the unveiling of Obama's "My Brother's Keeper" initiative

    Realizing the Potential of 'My Brother's Keeper'

    The White House has mobilized an impressive coalition to address a critical national challenge, and used the power of research evidence to begin to structure the initiative. By drawing more lessons from research, the initiative can further bolster its chance to build strong and lasting ladders of opportunity and success for boys and young men of color.

    Mar 16, 2014 The Hill

  • two women with smiling baby girl, adorable, adult, baby, beautiful, caucasian, cheerful, child, cute, daughter, embracing, enjoyment, expression, face, family, fun, funny, generations, girl, granddaughter, grandma, grandmother, happiness, happy, home, infant, lady, laughing, little, love, mature, mother, mum, nanny, offspring, people, playful, senior, smiling, three, three-generation, toddler, together, togetherness, woman, women

    Support for Implementing Home Visiting Under the Affordable Care Act

    One groundbreaking provision of the Affordable Care Act is its funding for home visiting programs that match the parents of young children with trained specialists who provide information, social support, parental skill instruction, and more.

    Jan 8, 2014 The RAND Blog

  • teacher and pediatrician observing children

    The Time Is Ripe for Evidence

    Earlier this year, the European Commission renewed its commitment to promoting child well-being. One of the guidelines was to strengthen the use of evidence-based policy. This is noteworthy because it represents one of the first times that the EC has specifically advocated the use of evidence in policy making.

    Dec 2, 2013 The Alliance for Useful Evidence

  • colorful crayons

    The President's Early Childhood Expansion Should Take a 'Portfolio' Approach

    A optimal approach to strategically expanding access to early childhood programs is one that helps states and communities identify evidence-based approaches that address their particular needs, within the context of their characteristics, writes M. Rebecca Kilburn.

    Feb 21, 2013 The RAND Blog