Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach ‘95 Appointed Director Of The Hamilton Project

August 7, 2015
Photo of Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach '95

Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach ‘95 has been appointed director of The Hamilton Project, an economic policy initiative at the Brookings Institution. "I'm glad to be back in DC where I worked 20 years ago," she said in an email. Right after graduation, Schanzenbach worked at the White House's Council of Economic Advisers for Alicia Haydock Munnell '64.

Schanzenbach studies issues related to child poverty, including education policy, child health, and food consumption. Much of her research investigates the longer-run impacts of early life experiences, such as the impacts of receiving SNAP benefits during childhood, the impacts of kindergarten classroom quality, and the impacts of early childhood education. She recently served on the Institute of Medicine’s Committee on the Examination of the Adequacy of Food Resources and SNAP Allotments. She has collaborated on several papers with Kristin Butcher ‘86, Marshall I. Goldman Professor of Economics and other Wellesley colleagues, including Phil Levine, Katharine Coman and A. Barton Hepburn Professor of Economics, and Karl “Chip” Case, Professor Emeritus of Economics.

"Kristin and I are currently coauthoring a series of papers on food insecurity—a measure of well-being among low-income families. We are trying to understand its dynamics during the Great Recession,” Schanzenbach said in an email. “I also wrote my first academic publication with Phil Levine and a couple of subsequent papers with him, too. The impact of Phil, Kristin, and Chip Case on my intellectual development as an economist truly cannot be overstated. I am so grateful to them for their sustained, patient investments in me.”

Schanzenbach also noted another, newer Wellesley connection—Amy Wickett '16 (a "fellow Beebe-ite") is interning at The Hamilton Project this summer.

Launched in 2006, The Hamilton Project offers a strategic vision and produces evidenced-based policy proposals on how to create a growing economy that benefits more Americans. Schanzenbach is an associate professor in the School of Education and Social Policy at Northwestern University and a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research. With her new appointment, which was effective August 3, she also joins Brookings in the Economic Studies program as a senior fellow. She replaces outgoing director Melissa S. Kearney.

“Diane Schanzenbach’s extensive research and expertise spans many of the most pressing economic issues our nation faces today in the areas of social mobility and inequality, which The Hamilton Project will continue to address throughout her tenure,” said Robert E. Rubin, one of the Project’s founders and the nation’s 70th Treasury Secretary, in a press release.

“The Project's focus on fostering more inclusive growth by enhancing individual economic security directly aligns with my academic research and papers,” said Schanzenbach in the press release. “I look forward to collaborating with some of our nation’s leading economists to develop innovative policy proposals, and to working with the Advisory Council and staff to advance the work of the Project.”