Associate Professor of Public Policy and Urban Affairs and Economics; Associate Director, Dukakis Center
At Northeastern since 2014
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. Since 2015, Dr. Modestino has also served as the Associate Director of the Dukakis Center for Urban and Regional Policy. She is also a nonresident fellow at the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program and an invited researcher of the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) at MIT. Previously, Modestino was a Senior Economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston where she led numerous research projects on regional economic and policy issues.
Dr. Modestino’s current research focuses on labor and health economics including changing skill requirements, youth development, healthcare, housing, and migration. Her work has been funded by the William T. Grant Foundation, the Russell Sage Foundation, the National Science Foundation, the Boston Foundation, the National Security Agency (NSA), and J-PAL. She has published in peer-reviewed publications including Review of Economics and Statistics, Journal of Human Resources, Labour Economics, Health Affairs, Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, and Regional Science and Urban Economics. Dr. Modestino’s research has been covered extensively in the media including the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, Bloomberg, the Christian Science Monitor, the Boston Globe, Politico, and Vox. She has appeared on NPR’s On Point, WBUR’s Radio Boston, WCVB’s CityLine, NBC News, and FOX25 News.
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.
Read Professor Modestino’s Faculty Spotlight.
- 2019 Outstanding Teaching Award, College of Social Science and Humanities, Northeastern University
External Funding (Total = $1,349,792):
- Principal Investigator. “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-July 2020.
- Principal Investigator. “An Evaluation of Boston’s Tuition-Free Community College Program.” The Boston Foundation, Total=$6,350, January 2019-December 2019.
- Principal Investigator. “The Greater Boston Housing Report Card.” The Boston Foundation, Total=$77,284, September 2018-June 2019.
- Principal Investigator. “The Return on Investment to English Language Learning Programs.” The Boston Foundation, Total=$65,213, September 2018-August 2019.
- Principal Investigator. “Building Boston’s Talent Pool.” Neighborhood Jobs Trust, Total=$30,929, May 2018-September 2018.
- 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, Co-PI share=$48,400, May 2017-December 2017.
- Co-Principal Investigator (with Trinh Nguyen). “Technical Assistance for Social Innovation Fund Pay for Success Project for the Boston Summer Youth Employment Program.” Third Sector Partners, Total=$250,000, Co-PI share=$57,000, December 2016-August 2017.
- Co-Principal Investigator (with Daniel Shoag). “Upskilling: Why Do Employers Demand Greater Skill When Workers Are Plentiful?” Russell Sage Foundation, Total =$35,000, Co-PI share=$11,000, 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, Co-PI share=$28,800, January 2016-December 2017.
- Principal Investigator. “A Multi-Year Evaluation of Boston Summer Youth Employment Program Features to Reduce Inequality Across Groups.” City of Boston, Office of Workforce Development, Total=$15,000, September 2015-December 2016.
- Principal Investigator. “Reducing Economic Inequality by Increasing Equality of Opportunity. Policy Options: College and Career Readiness.” Partners Healthcare, Total=$5,000, January 2015-April 2015.
- Co-Principal Investigator (with Barry Bluestone). “Greater Boston Housing Report Card.” The Boston Foundation, Total=$75,000, Co-PI share=$18,750, August 2014-July 2015.
- Co-Principal Investigator (with Daniel Shoag). “Upskilling: Do Employers Demand Greater Skill When Workers Are Plentiful?” Russell Sage Foundation, Project #85-14-05, Total=$50,000, Co-PI share=$20,000, August 2014-July 2016.
- Principal Investigator. “Gender Differences in Physician Pay: Tradeoffs Between Career and Family.” National Science Foundation, Grant for Improving Doctoral Research, Total=$5,000, September 2000-August 2001.
- Modestino, A., Shoag, D., & Ballance, J. 2019. Upskilling: Do Employers Demand Greater Skill When Workers Are Plentiful? Accepted, Review of Economics and Statistics.
- Modestino, A. 2019. How Do Summer Youth Employment Programs Improve Criminal Justice Outcomes, and for Whom? Forthcoming. Journal of Public Policy Analysis and Management, pp. 1-29.
- Modestino, A., & Paulsen, R.* 2019. Reducing Inequality Summer by Summer: Lessons from the Boston Summer Youth Employment Program Survey. Evaluation Program and Planning, 72: 40-53.
- 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.
- Sasser, A., Taylor, M., Birnbaum, H., Schoenfeld, M., Oster, E., & Rousculp, M. 2005. Assessing the Economic Impact of Chronic Conditions in Post-Menopausal Women. Expert Opinion on Pharmacotherapy, 6(11): 1803-1814.
- Modestino, A. 2019. Is the Skills Gap Real? Changes in Employer Skill Requirements During the Great Recession. EconoFact, March 8, pp. 1-3.
- Modestino, A., & Nguyen, T. 2018. On Helping Teens Get Their First Jobs. CitiesSpeak, National League of Cities, August 28, pp. 1-6.
- Modestino, A., & Shoag, D. 2018. When the Economy Is Good, Employers Demand Fewer Credentials. Harvard Business Review, August 21, pp. 1-8.
- Modestino, A. 2018. How Can Summer Jobs Reduce Crime Among Youth? Report, Brookings Institution, pp. 1-21.
- Modestino, A. 2016. The Importance of Middle-Skill Jobs. Issues in Science and Technology. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, Fall, pp. 41-46.
- Modestino, A., & Sederberg, R.* 2019. Untapped: Redefining Hiring in the New Economy. Office of Workforce Development, City of Boston, March, pp. 1-43.
- Modestino, A., Sederberg, R.*, & Tuller, L.* 2017. An Evaluation of the Boston Youth Credit Building Initiative: Baseline Report. Office of Financial Empowerment, City of Boston, July, pp. 1-57.
- Modestino, A., & Nguyen, T. 2016. The Potential for Summer Youth Employment Programs to Reduce Inequality: What Do We Know? Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, Regional and Community Outreach Issue Brief 16-03, June, pp. 1-18.
- Bluestone, B., Tumber, C., Lee, N., Modestino, A., Costello, L., & Davis, T. Greater Boston Housing Report Card 2014-15. 2015. The Boston Foundation, March, pp. 1-81.
- Modestino, A. 2015. Middle-Skill Workers and Today’s Labor Market. Commissioned paper for the “Symposium on the Supply Chain for Middle-Skill Jobs: Education, Training, and Certification,” The National Academies, Board on Behavioral, Cognitive, and Sensory Sciences, September, pp. 1-59.
- Modestino, A., & Dennett, J. Uncertain Futures? Youth Attachment to the Labor Market in the U.S. and New England. 2013. Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, New England Public Policy Center, Research Report 13-3, December, pp. 1-43.
- Modestino, A. Retaining Recent College Graduates in New England: An Update on Current Trends. 2013. Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, New England Public Policy Center, Policy Brief No. 13-2, May, pp. 1-4.
- Sasser, A. Reaching the Goal: Expanding Health Insurance Coverage in New England Current Strategies and New Initiatives. 2007. Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, New England Public Policy Center, Research Report No. 07-1, September, pp. 1-67.
Ph.D., Economics, 2001
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