Alicia Sasser Modestino
Associate Professor of Public Policy and Urban Affairs and Economics; Research Director, Dukakis Center
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 Non-Resident 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.
- University Excellence in Research and Creative Activity Award, Northeastern University, 2022
- Outstanding Faculty Research Team Award, College of Engineering, Northeastern University, 2020
- Outstanding Teaching Award, College of Social Science and Humanities, Northeastern University, 2019
- Principal Investigator. “The Long-Term Impacts of Summer Youth Employment Programs on Outcomes.” Arnold Foundation, Total=$273,667, January 2022-August 2023.
- Co-Principal Investigator (with Jared Auclair). “BioConnects New England.” Economic Development Agency, Build Back Better Regional Challeneg, Total=$500,000, January 2022-December 2023.
- Principal Investigator. “Building a more holistic and inclusive workforce development system for Boston’s Youth.” William T. Grant Foundation, Total=$649,557, July 2021-June 2024.
- Co-Principal Investigator (with Mohsen Moghaddam, Kemi Jona, Stacy Marsella, and Nick Wilson). “FW-HTF-P: Training an Agile, Adaptive Workforce for the Future of Manufacturing with Intelligent Augmented Reality (IAR).” National Science Foundation, Total=$2,100,00, September, 2021-August, 2024.
- Co-Principal Investigator (with Gary Young and Md Noor E Alam). “Strategies to Improve Adherence for Treatment with Buprenorphine/Naloxone” Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Total=$194,100, January 2021-August 2021.
- Co-Principal Investigator (with Taskin Padir, Kristian Kloeckl, John Basl, and Kemi Jona). “Collaborative Robots to Impact Seafood Processing (CRISP): Designs, Tools and Methods for Enhanced Worker Experience.” National Science Foundation, Future of Work at the Human Technology Frontier program, Total=$2,500,000, September 2019-August 2023.
- Co-Principal Investigator (lead, with Gary Young and Md. Noor-E-Alam). “A Community Health Center Buyback Program to Reduce the Supply of Opioids to Secondary Users.” Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Total=$48,552, February 2019-December 2022.
- Principal Investigator. “A Multi-Year Evaluation of Boston Summer Youth Employment Program Features to Reduce Inequality Across Groups.” William T. Grant Foundation, Total=$280,714, July 2017-June 2019.
- Co-Principal Investigator (with Agnes Chan). “Increasing Qualified Cybersecurity Educators: Market Study on Shortages of Educators.” National Security Administration, Total=$150,000, May 2017-December 2017.
- Co-Principal Investigator (lead, with Daniel Shoag). “Upskilling: Why Do Employers Demand Greater Skill When Workers Are Plentiful?” Russell Sage Foundation, Total =$34,477, January 2016-December 2017.
- Co-Principal Investigator (with Trinh Nguyen). “Citi Community Development Concept Proposal: Youth Credit Building Initiative.” Citi Community Development Foundation, Total=$260,750, January 2016-December 2017.
- Modestino, A., & Paulsen, R.† 2023. School’s Out: How Summer Youth Employment Programs Impact Academic Outcomes. Education Finance and Policy, 18 (1): 97–126.
- Modestino, A., Paul, U. † and McLaughlin J. 2022. What’s In a Job? Evaluating the Effect of Private Sector Job Experience on Students’ Academic Outcomes. AEA Papers and Proceedings, 112: 126-30.
- †Hasan, M., †Mohite, P., Islam, M., Alam, M. Modestino, A. Peckham, A., Young, L. & Young, G. 2021. Patterns of Patient Discontinuation from Buprenorphine/Naloxone Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder: A Study of a Commercially Insured Population in Massachusetts. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 131:108416.
- †Hasan, M. Young, G., †Patel, M.R., Modestino, A., Sanchez, L. Alam, N. 2021. A Machine Learning Framework to Predict the Risk of Opioid Use Disorder. Machine Learning with Applications, 6(15): 10144.
- Modestino, A., Shoag, D., & Ballance, J. 2020. Upskilling: Do Employers Demand Greater Skill When Workers Are Plentiful? Review of Economics and Statistics, 102(4): 793-805.
- Paulsen, R.†, Modestino, A., † Hasan, M., Alam, M., Young, L., & Young, G. 2020. Patterns of Buprenorphine/Naloxone Prescribing: An Analysis of Claims Data from Massachusetts. American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, 46(2): 216-223.
- Modestino, A., Sederberg, R.†, & Tuller, L.† 2019. Assessing the Effectiveness of Financial Coaching: Evidence from the Boston Youth Credit Building Initiative. Journal of Consumer Affairs, 53(4): 1825-1873.
- Modestino, A. 2019. How Do Summer Youth Employment Programs Improve Criminal Justice Outcomes, and for Whom? Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, 38(3): 600-628.
- Modestino, A., Shoag, D., & Ballance, J. 2016. Downskilling: Changes in Employer Skill Requirements Over the Business Cycle. Labour Economics, 41: 333-347.
- Modestino, A., & Dennett, J. 2013. Are Americans Locked into Their Houses? The Impact of Housing Market Conditions on State-to-State Migration. Regional Science and Urban Economics, 43(2): 322-337.
- Sasser, A. 2010. Voting with Their Feet: Relative Economic Conditions and State Migration Patterns. Regional Science and Urban Economics, 40(2-3): 122-135.
- Cutler, D., Long, G., Berndt, E., Royer, J., Fournier, A., Sasser, A., & Cremieux, P. 2007. The Value Of Antihypertensive Drugs: A Perspective On Medical Innovation. Health Affairs, 26(1): 97-110.
- Sasser, A. 2005. Gender Differences in Physician Pay: Tradeoffs Between Career and Family. Journal of Human Resources, 40(2): 477-504.
- No Longer Qualified? Changes in the Supply and Demand for Skills within Occupations
- Gender and the Dynamics of Economics Seminars
- Research Fellow, Women and Public Policy Program, Harvard Kennedy School, 2020-
- Affiliated Researcher, Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) at MIT, 2020-
- Non-Resident Scholar, Brookings Institution, Washington, D.C., 2016-
PhD, Economics, 2001, Harvard University
MS, Economics, Harvard University
360M Renaissance Park
360 Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA 02115
Offers an opportunity for student teams, in partnership with a local, state, or federal agency or nonprofit institution, to assess an urban or regional problem, produce a thorough policy analysis, and present it and recommended solutions to the agency or institution. Course readings focus on materials needed to assess the problem and provide solutions. This is a faculty-guided team project for students completing course work in urban and regional policy studies.
Introduces the fundamentals of macroeconomics and microeconomics as well as the role of key economic institutions, such as the Federal Reserve. Includes analysis of government’s role in a market economy and introduces methods of economic analysis.
Covers the theoretical and empirical issues surrounding current topics in the area of labor economics. Topics may vary each time the course is offered and may include discrimination, efficiency wage theory, labor legislation, life cycle analysis, and the use of microdata (panel studies, search behavior, intergenerational earnings mobility, and employment and training policies).
Alicia Sasser’s Colleagues
Associate Professor of Political Science
Amílcar Antonio Barreto
Professor & Chair, Cultures, Societies, and Global Studies; Professor & Interim Director, International Affairs; Professor, Political Science; Affiliated faculty member of Women's Gender and Sexuality Studies; Affiliated faculty member in the School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs
Russell B. and Andree B. Stearns Trustee Professor Emeritus of Political Economy; Founding Director of the Dukakis Center; Founding Dean of the School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs
Professor of Public Policy and Political Science
Associate Professor Emeritus of Economics and Public Policy
University Distinguished Professor of Economics and Public Policy
Professor of Public Policy and Urban Affairs
Stephen E. Flynn
Professor of Political Science; Founding Director, Global Resilience Institute
James Alan Fox
Lipman Family Professor of Criminology, Law, and Public Policy
Professor of Environmental Science and Public Policy
Professor of Management, Healthcare Systems and Public Policy
In Memoriam William Kay
In Memoriam: Associate Professor of Political Science
University Distinguished Professor of Political Science and Computer Sciences
Associate Professor of Public Policy and Urban Affairs and Art + Design
Emeritus Associate Professor of Cultures, Societies and Global Studies