Isaac M. Opper

Isaac M. Opper
Economist; Affiliate Faculty, Pardee RAND Graduate School
Santa Monica Office


Ph.D. in economics, Stanford University; M.A. in economics, Stanford University; B.A. in economics and mathematics, Colby 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

More Experts


Isaac M. Opper is an applied microeconomist who does work primarily on the economics of education, health economics, labor economics, and personnel economics. Much of his research relates to the measurement of teacher quality, including a paper published in the American Economic Review which shows that the positive impact that teachers have on their students spills over to affect their students’ future peers. Other work includes an impact evaluation of the New York City Community School Initiative cited by congressional testimony by Secretary Cardona and a paper forthcoming at the Journal of Labor Economics which shows that there are large peer effects in a job training program and that these peer effects impact the optimal assignment of individuals to the treatment. His work has been reported about in leading newspapers such as the New York Times, Washington Post, and the Wall Street Journal. Opper is a member of the Pardee RAND Graduate School faculty. He graduated with a Ph.D. in economics from Stanford University.

Selected Publications

Isaac M. Opper, "Does Helping John Help Sue? Evidence of Spillovers in Education," American Economic Review, 109(3), 2019

Johnston, William R., John Engberg, Isaac M. Opper, Lisa Sontag-Padilla, and Lea Xenakis, Illustrating the Promise of Community Schools: An Assessment of the Impact of the New York City Community Schools Initiative, RAND Corporation (RR-3245), 2020

Matthew Baird, John Engberg, and Isaac M. Opper, "Optimal Allocation of Seats in the Presence of Peer Effects: Evidence from a Job Training Program," Journal of Labor Economics, 2023 (forthcoming)