Nancy Nicosia

Photo of Nancy Nicosia
Senior Economist; Affiliate Faculty, Pardee RAND Graduate School
Boston Office


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 and a member of the Pardee RAND Graduate School faculty. Her recent research has focused on the intersection of substance use, health, and crime. Her research has examined the role of 24/7 Sobriety to influence criminal justice and health outcomes. In other work, she has examined the extent to which methamphetamine use can be linked to adverse health and social outcomes and how state and federal regulations restricting over-the-counter products containing pseudoephedrine affect methamphetamine-related outcomes. Nicosia has also worked extensively in the area of child well-being, particularly with respect to obesity and obesogenic behaviors. Her research has examined the role of social contagion and norms on obesity. She has also examined how the built and policy environments influence children's BMI, how neighborhood characteristics influence children's physical activity, and how maternal work affects children’s outcomes. Finally, her work has also focused on issues relating to racial/ethnic disparities in these research areas. Nicosia received her Ph.D. in economics from the University of California, Berkeley.

Recent Projects

  • Estimating the Effect of 24/7 Sobriety on Morbidity and Mortality in North Dakota
  • Environments, Preferences and Childhood Obesity: Evidence From a Natural Experiment
  • Evaluating South Dakota’s 24/7 Sobriety Program
  • Contextual Effects on Cardiometabolic Health: Evidence from a Natural Experiment
  • Environment's Impact on Children's Diet, Activity and Obesity: A Natural Experiment

Selected Publications

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

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

Datar, Ashlesha and Nancy Nicosia, "Junk Food in Schools and Childhood Obesity," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management

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

Nancy Nicosia, Rosalie Liccardo Pacula, Beau Kilmer, Russell Lundberg, and James Chiesa, The Economic Cost of Methamphetamine in the U.S. - 2005, RAND (MG-829)