Melanie A. Zaber

Melanie A. Zaber

Economist; Codirector, Middle-Class Pathways Center; Professor of Policy Analysis, Pardee RAND Graduate School

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Melanie Zaber (she/her) is an economist at RAND, codirector of the Middle-Class Pathways Center, and a professor of policy analysis at the Pardee RAND Graduate School. She has diverse research interests spanning workforce development, postsecondary education, gender equity, and access to civil justice. Her research has examined household transitions (coresidence, marriage, divorce, bankruptcy), analyzed workforce pipelines (principals, military linguists, building tradespeople), and explored postsecondary finance (market power, state grant aid, student debt). Her research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the Institute for Civil Justice, and the Social Security Administration. Current projects include an exploration of the persistence of women in STEM careers and an analysis of the longer-term education and career outcomes of participants in a high school youth development program. Zaber received her Ph.D. in economics and public policy from Carnegie Mellon University.


Ph.D. in economics and public policy, Carnegie Mellon University; B.S. in economics, policy studies, Syracuse University

Selected Work

  • Edwards, Kathryn Anne, Hannah Acheson-Field, Stephanie Rennane, and Melanie A. Zaber, "Mapping scientists’ career trajectories in the survey of doctorate recipients using three statistical methods," Scientific Reports, 13(1), 2023
  • Matthew D. Baird, Robert Bozick, and Melanie A. Zaber, "Beyond traditional academic degrees: The labor market returns to occupational credentials in the United States," IZA Journal of Labor Economics, 2022
  • Rennane, Stephanie, Hannah Acheson-Field, Kathryn A. Edwards, Grace Gahlon, and Melanie A. Zaber, "Leak or link? the overrepresentation of women in non-tenure-track academic positions in STEM," PloS one, 2022
  • Karney, Benjamin R., Jeffrey B. Wenger, Melanie A. Zaber, and Thomas N. Bradbury, "State minimum wage increases delay marriage and reduce divorce among low‐wage households," Journal of Marriage and Family, 2022
  • Haller, Melissa, Jeffrey B. Wenger, Melanie A. Zaber, and George W. Zuo, "A Consumption-Based Definition of the Middle Class," Social Indicators Research, 2022
  • C Doss, MA Zaber, BK Master, SM Gates, L Hamilton, "The Relationship Between Measures of Preservice Principal Practice and Future Principal Job Performance," Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 2021
  • Epple, Dennis; Romano, Richard; Sarpca, Sinan; Sieg, Holger, Zaber, Melanie, "Market Power and Price Discrimination in the U.S. Market for Higher Education," RAND Journal of Economics, 2019
  • Black, Dan; Taylor, Lowell; Zaber, Melanie, "Empirical Evidence in the Study of Labor Markets: Opportunities and Challenges for a New Household Survey," Journal of Economic Analysis and Social Measurement, 2015

Authored by Melanie A. Zaber

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