Nancy Nicosia

Nancy Nicosia
Senior Economist; Affiliate Faculty, Pardee RAND Graduate School


Ph.D. in economics, University of California, Berkeley; B.A. in economics, Wellesley College

Media Resources

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Nancy Nicosia is a senior economist at the RAND Corporation. Her research focuses on two substantive research areas. The first is understanding the role of place effects in determining health outcomes among children and adults, with a special focus on obesity and its consequences. Her current work in this area includes an NIH-funded study, which utilizes the natural experiment of military assignments to understand the causal role of place on obesity and cardiometabolic outcomes. Her second research focus is on understanding the intersection between substance use, criminal justice, and health consequences. Her current work in this area includes policy evaluations of the 24/7 Sobriety program and of South Dakota’s Public Safety Improvement Act in order to understand their effects on criminal justice involvement, health, and health disparities.  She is the recipient of grants from various agencies and private foundations including the National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, National Institute on Minority Health Disparities, and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Her work has been published in leading economics and public health journals including the New England Journal of Medicine, JAMA Pediatrics, and American Economic Review among others. Nicosia received her Ph.D. in economics from the University of California, Berkeley.

Selected Publications

Smart, Rosanna, Terry L. Schell, Andrew R. Morral, and Nancy Nicosia, "Geographic disparities in rising rates of firearm-related homicide.," New England Journal of Medicine, 2022

Datar, Ashlesha, Nancy Nicosia, and Anya Samek., "Heterogeneity in place effects on health: The case of time preferences and adolescent obesity," Economics & Human Biology, 2023

Datar, Ashlesha, Amy Mahler, and Nancy Nicosia, "Association of exposure to communities with high obesity with body type norms and obesity risk among teenagers," JAMA Network Open, 2020

Datar, Ashlesha and Nancy Nicosia, "Assessing social contagion in body mass index, overweight, and obesity using a natural experiment," JAMA Pediatrics, 2018

Midgette, Greg, Beau Kilmer, Nancy Nicosia and Paul Heaton, "A natural experiment to test the effect of sanction certainty and celerity on substance-impaired driving: North Dakota’s 24/7 Sobriety program," Journal of Quantitative Criminology, 2020

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

Dobkin, Carlos, Nancy Nicosia, and Matthew Weinberg., "Are supply-side drug control efforts effective? Evaluating OTC regulations targeting methamphetamine precursors.," Journal of Public Economics, 2014

Dobkin, Carlos and Nancy Nicosia, "The War on Drugs: Methamphetamine, Public Health and Crime," American Economic Review