Rachel Deyette Werkema

Lecturer in Economics

I am a social scientist interested in issues of inequality with a focus on education, particularly under-resourced public schools and students from less privileged backgrounds.

I've conducted research on school choice and college access for urban students, looking at barriers to participation. I also spent a year observing a newly introduced calculus class at an inner-city high school. I'm interested in examining opportunity gaps across communities, school districts, and institutions of higher education. Since becoming a mother to twin girls, I've also become interested in the role of volunteering for parents and especially women, both in terms of civic contributions and professional development.

At Wellesley, I teach principles of microeconomics and macroeconomics. I love seeing those "a-ha!" moments when economics starts to make sense. I also teach courses in education policy and economic development. In the economics of education policy, we use an economics framework to study education as an "industry" and to analyze schools, teachers, and curriculum choices as well as current reforms and priorities. In development, we are trying to uncover reasons to explain why some countries are rich and others are poor.

I've taught principles courses to both undergraduates and master's students as well as adult learners, and I continue to teach a basic micro class to mid-career students every summer. I also earned Massachusetts teacher certification in secondary social studies by teaching in an urban high school while working on my PhD.

I love to read -- fiction and non-fiction -- and enjoy sharing book tips with my now teenage daughters (suggestions from students welcome!). I'm a big proponent of public libraries and an active volunteer at my local one.


  • B.A., Wesleyan University
  • M.A., Harvard Univeristy
  • Ph.D., Harvard University