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Photograph of Claudia Persico

Claudia Persico Assistant Professor Department of Public Administration and Policy

Ph.D. in Human Development and Social Policy, Northwestern University

M.A. in Human Development and Social Policy, Northwestern University
M.A. in Philosophy of Religion, University of Chicago
B.A. in Biology, Boston University

Claudia Persico is an applied policy scholar whose research focuses on environmental policy, inequality, health and education policy using causal inference methods. Persico is also an IZA Institute of Labor Economics Research Affiliate, and a Research Affiliate with the with the Institute for Research on Poverty at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the Institute for Policy Research at Northwestern University. Her research has recently been featured in the Quarterly Journal of Economics, the Journal of Labor Economics, and the Journal of Human Resources. Her current work examines the social and biological mechanisms underlying the relationships between poverty, the environment, and children’s cognitive development and health. In particular, much of her current research focuses on how early exposure to environmental pollution can cause inequality by affecting child and adult health, development, behavior, and academic achievement. She has also studied how school funding impacts long term outcomes, how school segregation affects racial disproportionalities in special education, and how childhood exposure to pollution affects academic outcomes. Her research has been covered by the New York Times, the Washington Post, NPR, the Atlantic, and many other major media outlets. She was formerly an Assistant Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
See Also
Personal Website
Twitter Profile
For the Media
To request an interview for a news story, call AU Communications at 202-885-5950 or submit a request.


Spring 2020

  • PUAD-604 Public Program Evaluation

Fall 2020

  • PUAD-685 Topics in Policy Analysis/Mgmt: Education/American Policy Syst

Scholarly, Creative & Professional Activities

Selected Publications

  1. Gazze, L., Persico, C. and Spirovska S. “On Peer Effects and Pollution: Does Exposure to Lead Affect Everyone in the Classroom?” IZA Discussion Paper No. 13133
  2. Persico, C. “Can Pollution Cause Poverty? The Effects of Pollution on Educational, Health and Economic Outcomes” IZA Discussion Paper No. 12965.
  3. Persico, C. and Johnson, K. (2020). “The Effects of Increased Pollution on COVID-19 Cases and Deaths” SSRN Working paper 
  4. Heissel, J., Persico, C. and Simon, D. “Does Pollution Drive Achievement? The Effect of Traffic Pollution on Academic Performance.” In press at the Journal of Human Resources
  5. Persico, C. and Venator, J. “The Effects of Local Industrial Pollution on Students and Schools.” (free working paperThe Journal of Human Resources, 2019.
  6. Persico, C., Figlio, D., Roth, J. “The Developmental Consequences of Superfund Sites”. The Journal of Labor Economics, 2019.
  7. Elder, T., Figlio, D., Imberman, S., and Persico, C. “The Role of Neonatal Health in the Incidence of Childhood Disability.” The American Journal of Health Economics 6, no. 2 (March 1, 2020): 216–50.
  8. Elder, T., Figlio, D., Imberman, S., and Persico, C. “School Segregation and Racial Gaps in Special Education Identification." National Bureau of Economic Research WP, 2019. (forthcoming at the Journal of Labor Economics)
  9. Jackson, C.K., Johnson R.C., and Persico, C. “The Effects of School Spending on Educational and Economic Outcomes: Evidence From School Finance Reforms,” Quarterly Journal of Economics, 2016.
  10. Jackson, C.K., Johnson R.C., and Persico, C. “Boosting Educational Attainment and Adult Earnings: Does School Spending Matter After All?” Education Next, Vol. 15, No. 4, 2015.

Policy Briefs

  1. Persico, C. “How exposure to pollution affects educational outcomes and inequality.” Brookings Institution, Brown Center Chalkboard.
  2. Persico, C. “Inequality before birth: Effects of in utero pollution exposure on children’s development.” Institute for Research on Poverty Policy Brief, University of Wisconsin-Madison.
  3. Jackson, C.K., Johnson, R., Persico, C. “How Money Makes a Difference: The Effects of School Finance Reforms on Outcomes for Low Income Students.” Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education.