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Rucker C. Johnson





Chancellor's Professor
Goldman School of Public Policy, UC Berkeley

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Chancellor's Professor, Goldman School of Public, University of California, Berkeley
(May 2019-present)

Associate Professor, (July 2011-April 2019) 

Assistant Professor (Aug. 2004-June 2011)


Faculty Research Associate, National Bureau of Economic Research (2015 - )

Faculty Research Fellow, National Bureau of Economic Research (2010 -15)

Faculty Research Fellow, W.E.B. Du Bois Institute, Harvard University (2012 - )

Research Affiliate, National Poverty Center, University of Michigan (2007 – present) Research Affiliate, Institute for Poverty Research, Univ of Wisconsin (2007 – present)


Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Scholar in Health Policy Research, University of Michigan (Aug. 2002-2004)

Research Associate, University of Michigan Poverty Research Center (1998-2002)


Ph.D. Economics, University of Michigan (June 2002)

M.A Economics, University of Michigan (May 1997)

B.A. Economics, Morehouse College (May 1995)

magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa


Labor Economics, Economics of Education, Health Economics, Applied Econometrics


Poverty, Inequality, Social Welfare Policy


Essays on Urban Spatial Structure, Job Search, and Job Mobility


Member, American Academy of Arts & Sciences, 2021

Sir Arthur Lewis Fellow, American Academy of Political and Social Science, 2021

Member, National Academy of Education, (2020-)

Andrew Carnegie Fellowship Prize, (2017-2019)

Fletcher Fellowship Prize, Book Project: Children of the Dream: Why School Integration Works, Harvard (2012-13)

Russell Sage Foundation Visiting Scholar, NYC (2011-12)

Selected Fellow, Stanford University Center for Advanced Study in Behavioral Sciences (2011-12)

"Noteworthy Books for 2010" in labor economics, Princeton University Industrial Relations (2011)

APPAM Dissertation Award for Best Dissertation in Public Policy and Management (2003)

1st Place, Upjohn Institute Dissertation Award for Outstanding Dissertation in Labor Economics (2003)

National Economics Association Dissertation Award (2003)

Robert Wood Johnson Postdoctoral Fellowship in Health Policy Research (Aug. 2002-2004)

National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship Winner (2002)

Rackham Merit Fellowship, University of Michigan (2000-2002)

Ford Predoctoral Training Fellowship, University of Michigan Poverty Research Center (1997-1999)

Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC) Fellowship (1997)

Summer Research Fellowship, Department of Economics, University of Michigan (1996)

Ford Foundation Predoctoral Fellowship (1995-1997)

Summer Minority Fellow, American Economic Association, Stanford University (1994)



Johnson, Rucker C. Children of the Dream: Why School Integration Works. New York, NY: Basic Books and Russell Sage Foundation Press.

Johnson, Rucker C., Ariel Kalil, and Rachel Dunifon (2010).  Mothers’ Work and Children’s Lives: Low-income Families After Welfare Reform.  Upjohn Institute Press.



Johnson, Rucker C. Johnson (Forthcoming). “The Impact of Parental Wealth on College Degree Attainment: Evidence from the Housing Boom & Bust”. American Economic Review: Papers & Proceedings.

Thompson, Hannah, Rucker C. Johnson, Kristine Madsen, Bruce Fuller (2019). “Does Suing Schools Make Kids Healthier? The Impact of Physical Education Litigation on 5th Graders' Cadrio-respiratory Fitness”. American Journal of Public Health 109(11): 1557-1563.

Johnson, Rucker C. and C. Kirabo Jackson (2019). Reducing Inequality Through Dynamic Complementarity: Evidence from Head Start and Public School SpendingAmerican Economic Journal: Economic Policy 11(4): 310-349.  Summaries in The NBER Digest (July 2017) and IRP Focus (July 2017).

Johnson, Rucker C. (Forthcoming). "Segregation in Higher Education & Unequal Paths to College Completion: Implications for Policy". American Council on Education (essay).

Johnson, Rucker C. (2018). “Addressing Racial Health Disparities: Looking Back to Point the Way Forward”. The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political & Social Science 680(1):132-171.

Jackson, Kirabo, Rucker C. Johnson, Claudia Persico (2015). “The Effects of School Spending on Educational & Economic Outcomes: Evidence from School Finance Reforms”. The Quarterly Journal of Economics 131(1): 157-218.

Johnson, Rucker C. and Sean Tanner (2018). " Money & Freedom: The Impact of California's School Finance Reform " (technical report, Getting Down to Facts II).

Johnson, Rucker C. and Sean Tanner (2018). " Money & Freedom: The Impact of California's School Finance Reform " (research brief). Palo Alto, CA: Learning Policy Institute.

Johnson, Rucker C. (2017).  “Health Disparities”.  published in State of the Union, Center on Poverty & Inequality, Stanford University.

Jackson, Kirabo, Rucker C. Johnson, Claudia Persico (2015). "Boosting Educational Attainment & Adult Earnings: Does School Spending Matter After All?" Education Next (Fall issue).

Johnson, Rucker C. (2016).  “Can Schools Level the Intergenerational Playing Field?  Lessons from Equal Educational Opportunity Policies”.  Edited volume on mobility, published by the Federal Reserve Board, D.C.

Johnson, Rucker C. (2015).  “Follow the Money: School Spending from Title I to Adult Earnings”.  Special edited volume, ESEA at 50, published in The Russell Sage Foundation Journal of the Social Sciences.

Johnson, Rucker C. (2011). “Health Dynamics and the Evolution of Health Inequality over the Life Course: The Importance of Neighborhood and Family Background”.
Forthcoming in B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy: Advances.

Johnson, Rucker C. and Steven Raphael (2011). “How Much Crime Reduction Does the Marginal Prisoner Buy?” Forthcoming in the Journal of Law & Economics, May 2012 issue.

Johnson, Rucker C. and Robert Schoeni (2011). “Early-Life Origins of Adult Disease: National Longitudinal Population-Based Study of the US”. American Journal of Public Health 101(12): 2317-24.

Johnson, Rucker C., Robert Schoeni, and Jeannette Rogowski (2011). “Health Disparities in Mid-to-Late Life: The Role of Earlier Life Family and Neighborhood Socioeconomic Conditions”. Forthcoming in Social Science & Medicine.

Johnson, Rucker C. and Robert Schoeni (2011). "The Influence of Early-Life Events on Human Capital, Health Status, and Labor Market Outcomes Over the Life Course". The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy: Advances, Vol. 11 : Iss. 3, Article 3. http://www.bepress.com/bejeap/vol11/iss3/art3

Johnson, Rucker C., Ariel Kalil, and Rachel Dunifon (2010). “Employment Patterns of Less-Skilled Workers: Links to Children’s Behavior and Academic Progress”. Demography 47(3), August 2011.

Johnson, Rucker C. (2010). “The Health Returns of Education Policies: From Preschool to High School & Beyond.” American Economic Review Papers and Proceedings (May), 100(2): 188-94.

Johnson, Rucker C. and Steven Raphael (2009). “The Effects of Male Incarceration Dynamics on AIDS Infection Rates among African-American Women and Men.” Journal of Law & Economics (May), 52(2): 251-293.

Johnson, Rucker C. (2006). “Landing a Job in Urban Space: The Extent and Effects of Spatial Mismatch.” Regional Science & Urban Economics (May), 36(3): 331-372.

Johnson, Rucker C. (2006). “Wage and Job Dynamics After Welfare Reform: The Importance of Job Skills.” Research in Labor Economics, 26: 231-298.

Johnson, Rucker C. (2007). “Healthy First Steps Lead to Later-Life Success”, The American Prospect, December. Published as “From One Generation to the Next”.

Danziger, Sheldon and Rucker C. Johnson (2005). “Welfare Reform: The Morning After”, The Milken Institute Review (Winter). Published as “Trends”.

Johnson, Rucker C. and Mary Corcoran (2003). “The Road to Economic Self-Sufficiency: Job Quality and Job Transition Patterns After Welfare Reform.” Journal of Policy Analysis & Management (Fall), 22(4): 615-639.


Johnson, Rucker C. (2021)."Early Origins of Racial Health Disparities: Human Capital Policy is Health Policy". The Handbook of Aging & the Social Sciences, 9th edition, volume edited by Kenneth F. Ferraro & Deborah Carr.

Johnson, Rucker C. (2019). "In Search of Integration: Beyond Black & White", In Ingrid Ellen and Peter Steil (eds). The Dream Revisited. New York: Columbia University Press.

Johnson, Rucker C. (2010).  “The Place of Race in Health Disparities: How Family Background and Neighborhood Conditions in Childhood Impact Later-Life Health” In Harriet Newburger, Eugenie L. Birch, and Susan M. Wachter (eds).  Neighborhood and Life Chances: How Place Matters in Modern America. University of Pennsylvania Press.

Johnson, Rucker C. (2008).  “Ever-Increasing Levels of Parental Incarceration and the Consequences for Children” In Steven Raphael and Michael Stoll (eds).  Do Prisons Make Us Safer?  New York: Russell Sage Foundation Press.


Johnson, Rucker C. “Long-run Impacts of School Desegregation and School Quality on Adult Attainments.” NBER working paper #16664, revised August 2015. Summary in The NBER Digest (May 2011).

Johnson, Rucker C. and Sean Tanner (2018). "Money & Freedom: The Impact of California's School Finance Reform".


The Grandchildren of Brown: The Long Legacy of School Desegregation

Educational Consequences of the End of Court-Ordered Desegregation

“Intergenerational Risks of Criminal Involvement and Incarceration”

The Effects of Residential Segregation during Childhood on Life Chances: Causal Evidence Using Historical Railroad Track Configurations

“Race Differences in the Incidence & Duration of Exposure to Concentrated Poverty over the Life Course: Upward Mobility or Trapped in the Hood?”


Book Talks, Children of the Dream, Spring/Fall 2019: Harvard Univ, Stanford Univ, Univ of Michigan, Columbia Univ, NYU, Harlem, Univ of Chicago, UC-Berkeley (C-SPAN Book TV), Johns Hopkins, NY Federal Reserve Bank, USC, Urban Institute (DC), Summit on Civil Rights (Rutgers Univ), Education Writer's Association annual conference (Baltimore), Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, Milan (Italy, Gli Stati Generali delle Povertà Educative, April 2020).

"CNN interview (Brooke Baldwin)", June 28, 2019.

"Bloomberg TV interview ", August 8, 2019.

Congressional Briefing, "Separate & Unequal: How School Investments & Integration Matter for Educational Opportunity & Attainment", Capitol Hill (DC), November 14, 2019 (with Linda Darling-Hammond & Sean Reardon).

Recent Media Mentions: NYT(11/27), NYT(7/17), NYT(7/12), The New Republic, NBCnews, Baltimore Sun, LATimes, Education Week

"Winning with the Power of Mass Equality: School Funding, Integration, & Access for Later-Life Success", American Educational Research Association (AERA) Spencer Foundation Lecture, April 2016, Washington, DC.

“Integration: The Road Not Traveled…Recently: Why We Must Realize the Stalled Promise of Integration”. Kerner Commission 50th Anniversary Event, UC-Berkeley and Johns Hopkins University, March 2018.

"Data Matters: Erasing Bias, Revealing Truth", Resistance School, UC-Berkeley, July 2018.

Policy brief of my research on the long-run benefits of preK-12 educational investments, Philadelphia City Hall before the Mayor, Superintendent, City Council, civic leaders, business leaders, & the Pennsylvania state legislature (Harrisburg), September 2016.
Keynote speaker at the EdSource Education Policy Summit Symposium, Oakland Convention Center, October 2016.
Featured panelist at the Public Forum "Education Equity 50 Years After Coleman", Vanderbilt University, October 2016. 

"The Grandchildren of Brown", November 2015, UNC-Charlotte

Highlights; Full Speech

Opening Address, National Coalition on School Diversity national conference, September 2015

Johnson, Rucker C. (2012).  TED Talk, Desegregation & (Un)Equal Opportunity, TEDx conference, Miami Univ, September 2012.


“The Interlocking Pathways of Mobility from Education to Adult Health”.  Funded by NIH/National Institute on Aging (UC-Berkeley Center on the Economics & Demography of Aging), effective September 2015-16.

“Work after Welfare Reform and the Well-being of Children”, (with Rachel Dunifon and Ariel Kalil). Book Project Funded by W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, 2006-2007.

“Neighborhoods and the Health of Elderly Americans”, (with Vicki Freedman, Jeannette Rogowski, and Robert Schoeni).  Funded by National Institute on Aging, 2005-2007.

Intergenerational Risks of Criminal Involvement and Incarceration

Project Funded by National Poverty Center, 2007-2008.

“Long-run Impacts of Head Start & School Quality on Adult Health & Socioeconomic Attainments”. Funded by Hellman Faculty Fund Award, UC-Berkeley, 2010-2011.


Stanford University, October 2018, June 2017, May 2016, April 2016
Harvard University, September 2019
UCLA, February 2020
USC, December 2019
Johns Hopkins University, October 2019
NY Federal Reserve Bank, October 2019
NYU, February 2019
University of Chicago, April 2019, May 2017
Getting Down to Facts II, October 2018, California policymakers in Sacramento
National Academy of Sciences, June 2018, expert meeting on Longitudinal Studies for Aging Research
Duke University, September 2017
University of Michigan, September 2017
Columbia University, October 2017
University of Virginia, November 2017

Plenary Session, Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness, Washington DC, March 2017

NBER Conference, Education/Children, Chicago Federal Reserve Bank, April 2017
University of Pennsylvania, March 2017
Vanderbilt University, October 2016
American Educational Research Association (AERA) Spencer Foundation Lecture, April 2016, DC

Univ of Wisconsin-Madison/IRP, April 2016

Federal Reserve Bank Research Conference on Economic Mobility, April 2015

NBER Summer Institute, Cambridge, MA, July 2014, July 2007, July 2006

NIH Behavioral & Social Science Research Lecture Series, October 2015

UCLA, June 2015

Institute for Research on Poverty Summer Workshop, UW-Madison, June 2014, '10, '06, '02

Harvard Univ, March 2013

NIH Conference on Health Disparities, February 2014

Longitudinal & Life Course Studies International Conference, Paris, France, Oct '12

Yale Univ, January 2012
Columbia Univ, December 2011
NYU, February 2012, March 2011, April 2007, December 2003
Cornell Univ, April 2012, October 2003
Univ of Wisconsin-Madison, November 2011, October 2010
University of Chicago, May 2012, January 2011, January 2010

NY Federal Reserve Bank, June 2012
UCLA, Marcus Alexis Economic Symposium, February 2013
US Dept of Justice, Forum on Measurement of Incarceration, Washington D.C., Jan 2012
University of Minnesota, April 2011
UCSF, Center on Social Disparities in Health, April 2011
Economic Policy Institute, Forum on Unemployment & Children, Washington D.C., November 2010
Social Mobility Conference, UC-Davis, May 2010
NBER Conference, San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank, April 2010
Chicago Federal Reserve Bank, March 2010, March 2006, April 2003
Duke University, February 2010
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, Health Economics seminar, February 2010
Wellesley College, February 2010
NIH-sponsored conference on health disparities, Bethesda, MD, September 2009
Urban Institute: Policies Affecting Low-Income Families, Washington, D.C., Dec 2008.
Economic Summit on Early Childhood Investment, Telluride, CO, September, 2007
Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s National Summit on America’s Children, D.C. (Capitol Hill), May, 2007
Pew Charitable Trusts (Invest in Kids), Washington, D.C., May 2007
University of Washington, March 2007, December 2003
Northwestern University, January 2007
UCSF, Center for AIDS Prevention Studies, 2006
University of Maryland, College Park, June 2006
Economic Demography Workshop (PAA), Los Angeles, CA March 2006
Princeton University, December 2005
University of Michigan, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2005, 2003, 2001
Visiting Scholar, Institute for Research on Poverty, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Fall 2005
Congressional Black Caucus Legislative Conference, Washington, D.C., September 2005
RAND Health Economics Conference, April 2003


White House meeting on parental incarceration, August 2013

Council of Economic Advisers meeting, White House, on job growth, October 2010

AEA annual Conferences, Sessions on Health, Human Capital, & Race, January 2011, '10
OPRE’s Welfare Research and Evaluation Conference, Washington D.C., June 2010, '04
Midwest Economics Association Conference, March 2010
PAA Session, annual conferences, 2010, 2009, 2005, 2004
APPAM annual Conferences, November 2018, 2017, 2014, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2006, 2005, 2002, 2000
Society of Labor Economics annual conference, April 2012, April 2006

Association for Education Finance & Policy annual conference, March 2012
National Poverty Center Conference, Washington, D.C., June 2005


UC-Berkeley Goldman School of Public Policy (2004-2020): graduate courses of 55-100 MPP students

Microeconomics of Public Policy Analysis

Applied Econometrics (Quantitative Methods)

Poverty, Inequality, and Public Policy (undergraduate)

Ratings in Courses Taught 2017-18: 6.6/7.0


American Economic Review, Quarterly Journal of Economics, Journal of Political Economy,Review of Economics & Statistics, Journal of Economic Literature (Editorial Board), Journal of Policy Analysis and Management (Editorial Board), Regional Science and Urban Economics, Demography, Journal of Human Resources, Journal of Labor Economics, Journal of Health Economics, Economic Journal, Economic Inquiry, National Tax Jounral, Review of Black Political Economy, Industrial Relations (Associate Editor) , Social Science & Medicine, B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, Southern Economic Journal, New England Journal of Medicine, Russell Sage Foundation Journal of the Social Sciences (Editorial Board), Du Bois Review.


Commencement Speaker, UC-Berkeley GSPP Graduation, May 2019, May 2017

Op-Ed, Washington Post, May 16, 2019

To Dream Again: The Revival of School Integration", The Crisis Magazine (official publication of NAACP), May 17, 2019

The74Million.org, May 18, 2019

The Integrated Schools Podcast, April 18, 2019

HechingerReport.org, June 3, 2019

CNN interview (Brooke Baldwin), June 28, 2019

Bloomberg TV interview, August 8, 2019

Member, Human Capital & Economic Opportunity working group, co-directed by James Heckman & Steven Durlauf

Member, National Institute of Child Health & Human Development (NICHD) Strategic Planning, Working Group (2018-present)

Member, Mobility Metrics working group, Urban Institute (2019-present)

Member, Advisory Board, Common Core Standards Reform Study, Spencer Foundation (2018-present)

Social Science Advisory Board, Poverty & Race Research Action Council

Member, National Academies’ Committee for the American Opportunity Study

Member, NIH-funded Network on Inequality, Complexity, & Health

Member, The National Coalition on School Diversity, Research Advisory Panel
Member, Office of Planning, Research & Evaluation (Washington, D.C.), Welfare Research and Family Self-Sufficiency Technical Research Working Group

Adjunct Faculty Member, NIH and National Center on Minority Health, Health Disparities Course


American Economics Association

AEA Committee on Status of Minority Groups (2011-2016)
National Economics Association
NEA Board and Nominating Committee (2001-2006)
Association for Public Policy Analysis & Management
  APPAM Program Committee (2007, 2010, 2011, 2014); APPAM Policy Council, elected ('10-'15)
Population Association of America
        PAA Program Committee-Child Health (2010)
Society of Labor Economists

National Academy of Social Insurance, invited member (2010-)