Rosanna Smart

Rosanna Smart
Codirector, RAND Drug Policy Research Center; Senior Economist; Professor of Policy Analysis, Pardee RAND Graduate School
Santa Monica Office


Ph.D. in economics, University of California, Los Angeles; M.A. in economics, University of California, Los Angeles; B.A. in economics, Pomona 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

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Rosanna Smart is a senior economist at RAND, codirector of the RAND Drug Policy Research Center, and affiliate faculty of the Pardee RAND Graduate School. Her research is in applied microeconomics, with a focus on issues related to health behaviors, illicit markets, drug policy, and the determinants of gun violence.

Her current drug policy research studies a variety of issues related to better understanding substance use behaviors in the context of complex policy changes, including evaluating the implications of evolving cannabis market dynamics, and understanding trends and patterns of polysubstance use. Her other strand of research focuses on informing effective gun policy in the United States, evaluating the differential effects of gun policy across different populations and communities, and identifying interventions that can reduce gun violence; within this work, she serves as codirector of RAND's Gun Policy in America initiative.

Her research has been published in outlets such as the New England Journal of Medicine, Journal of Health Economics, American Journal of Public Health, and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Smart received her Ph.D. in economics from the University of California Los Angeles.

Recent Media Appearances

Interviews: Bloomberg Radio; GOVERNING Online


  • Gun Policy

    Addressing Gun Violence Requires Better Means of Measuring It

    Proposals to reduce firearm violence in the United States are often controversial, sometimes because there are no data demonstrating their effectiveness. The federal government has many of the requisite tools in place to collect the data, and it does it well on a wide range of other problems. Shying away from measuring this problem may also make it more difficult to fix it.

    Feb 13, 2023


  • Gun Policy

    Responding to the Firearm Violence Crisis: Are Some Newly Enacted Laws Making Things Worse?

    Persuasive scientific evidence is accumulating for several commonly implemented laws. Where the science is strong, lawmakers would be wise to consider it when making decisions about how to protect public safety while preserving civil liberties, including the right to bear arms.

    Jan 25, 2023

    USA Today

  • Gun Violence

    Better Data, Less Gun Violence

    If the United States is serious about fixing the escalating problem of gun violence, the government needs to measure it. Research that is supported by new funding is overdue but will be hampered until federal and state firearm violence data systems improve.

    Oct 5, 2022


  • Gun Policy

    A New Era for Firearm Violence Prevention Research

    Despite many remaining obstacles, the United States may soon have research that clarifies many of the unanswered questions about firearm violence and its prevention. Many critical research questions, neglected for decades, may now benefit from recent federal and private research funding that has supported a surge in research.

    Oct 4, 2022

    Journal of the American Medical Association

  • Gun Policy

    Facts Still Matter, Even If the Court Signals Otherwise

    The Supreme Court's recent decision in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen threatens to render decades of scientific studies legally irrelevant. But there is still room for research to inform court decisions about firearm regulations.

    Oct 4, 2022


  • Gun Policy

    State Gun Regulations Are a Messy Patchwork. The Supreme Court's Bruen Decision Won't Help

    The Supreme Court's decision may not actually narrow the policy gap between states sharply divided over their approach to regulating guns. Rather, its result may not look very different than what we have today—a patchwork of laws that often reflect political and policy demands of individual states.

    Aug 22, 2022

    The Hill

  • Crime and Violence Prevention

    'Stand Your Ground' Laws May Be Causing More Harm Than Good

    Americans have debated whether “stand your ground” laws or gun-free zones make us safer or less safe for decades. These are debates about factual matters that are, in principle, knowable. Without research on these and other topics, bad laws will inadvertently be passed or retained.

    Sep 12, 2019

    Orlando Sentinel

  • Cannabis

    How Will Cannabis Legalization Affect Alcohol Consumption?

    How will legalization of recreational marijuana affect alcohol consumption? Will drinking go down because people substitute cannabis for alcohol? Or will drinking go up because cannabis and alcohol complement each other? These questions have important implications.

    Feb 13, 2018

    GreenState (San Francisco Chronicle)