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Associate Professor, School of Public Policy & Urban Affairs and Department of Economics
Research Director, Dukakis Center for Urban and Regional Policy
Northeastern University
310 Renaissance Park
360 Huntington Avenue
Boston MA 02115
[email protected]
Northeastern Faculty Website

Alicia Sasser Modestino is an Associate Professor with appointments in the School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs and the Department of Economics at Northeastern University, where she also serves as the Research Director of the Dukakis Center for Urban and Regional Policy. She is also a Research Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Woman and Public Policy Program, a Nonresident Fellow at the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program, and an Affiliated Researcher of the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) at MIT. Previously, Dr. Modestino was a Senior Economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston where she led numerous research projects on regional economic and policy issues for over a decade.

Dr. Modestino’s current research focuses on labor and health economics including youth development, changing employer skill requirements, childcare, and the opioid crisis. Much of her research is interdisciplinary and involves large-scale empirical evaluations to determine underlying causal relationships using a variety of data, methods, and techniques. She has amassed over $8 million in external funding, including grants from the Arnold Foundation, J-PAL, the National Science Foundation, the Russell Sage Foundation, the Spencer Foundation, the Social Innovation Fund, and the William T. Grant Foundation. Her work has been published in peer-reviewed publications and her research has been covered extensively in the media. In her capacity as Research Director of the Dukakis Center for Urban and Regional Policy, she has developed robust researcher-practitioner partnerships with both city and state agencies to translate her research findings into new policies and practices.

Dr. Modestino holds both a Master’s degree and a Ph.D. in Economics from Harvard University, where she also served as a doctoral fellow in the Inequality and Social Policy Program at the Kennedy School of Government.


Labor Market Updates
Workers by the Numbers Blogcast (first Friday of every month)

Recent Awards
Excellence in Research and Creative Activity Award, May 2022
City to City $4.8 Million Impact Accelerator Award, August 2022

Published, In-Press, or Accepted
School’s Out: How Summer Youth Employment Programs Impact Academic Outcomes. Modestino, A., & Paulsen, R.† 2022. Education Finance and Policy, 18 (1): 97–126

    Related Coverage
     A Strong Summer Job Market for Teenagers. New York Times
     Teens Take Up More Jobs, and More Pay, in Tight Labor Market. Wall Street Journal
     Summer jobs for youth pay off. Commonwealth Magazine
     The Promises of Summer Youth Employment Programs. Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL)

Gender and the Dynamics of Economics Seminars (with Pascaline Dupas, Muriel Niederle, Justin Wolfers, and the Seminar Dynamics Collective) NBER Working Paper #28494, May 2021

    Related Coverage
     For Women in Economics, the Hostility Is Out in the Open. New York Times
     Women in Economics, Interrupted  Inside Higher Ed
     Demystifying the Dismal Science Project Syndicate
     How Can We Change the Seminar Culture in Economics? Committee on the Status of Women in the Economics Profession (CSWEP), Issue IV, 2022.