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Head Start

This expert has contributed to PPN's Expert Perspectives feature on the topic of Head Start.

Jens Ludwig, PhD

Jens Ludwig

McCormick Foundation Professor of Social Service Administration, Law, and Public Policy
School of Social Service Administration and the Harris School
University of Chicago

University of Chicago Crime Lab

Jens Ludwig is the McCormick Foundation Professor of Social Service Administration, Law, and Public Policy in the School of Social Service Administration and the Harris School and director of the University of Chicago Crime Lab. He also serves as a non-resident senior fellow in economic studies at the Brookings Institution, research associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), and co-director of the NBER's working group on the economics of crime. His research focuses on social policy, particularly in the areas of urban poverty, education, crime, and housing policy.

In the area of urban poverty, Ludwig has participated since 1995 on the evaluation of a HUD-funded randomized residential-mobility experiment known as Moving to Opportunity (MTO), which provides low-income public housing families the opportunity to relocate to private-market housing in less disadvantaged neighborhoods. Ludwig's research on education covers a range of topics from early education to school-to-work transition. His study of the long-term effects of Head Start (co-authored with Douglas Miller) was published in the Quarterly Journal of Economics, and he recently served on the National Academy of Science's Committee on Strengthening Benefit-Cost Methodology for the Evaluation of Early Childhood Interventions. His co-authored article on race, peer norms, and education with Philip Cook was awarded the 1997 Vernon Prize for best article by the Association of Public Policy Analysis and Management (APPAM). Ludwig has also been actively involved in research on a variety of crime issues, particularly on the topic of gun violence. He is the co-author with Duke University Professor Philip J. Cook of an evaluation of the federal Brady Act published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, and a study with Cook, sociologist Sudhir Venkatesh, and criminologist Anthony Braga of Chicago's underground gun markets, published in the Economic Journal, as well as of the book, Gun Violence: The Real Costs (Oxford University Press, 2000), and co-editor with Cook of Evaluating Gun Policy (Brookings Institution Press, 2003). He is also the co-author of a recent study of the effects of anti-depressant medication on suicide mortality published in the Journal of Health Economics.

Prior to coming to the Harris School, Ludwig was a professor of public policy at Georgetown University. He is currently a member of the Board on Children, Youth and Families of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies of Science, a member of the MacArthur Foundation's Models for Change Research Initiative, co-editor of the Journal of Human Resources, and a member of the editorial boards of American Economic Journal: Policy, Criminology, the Journal of Quantitative Criminology, and the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management. He has served as the Andrew Mellon Visiting Fellow in Economic Studies at the Brookings Institution, and as a visiting scholar to the Northwestern University / University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research. Ludwig received his BA in economics from Rutgers College and his MA and PhD in economics from Duke University. In 2006 he was awarded APPAM's David N. Kershaw Prize for Distinguished Contributions to Public Policy by Age 40.