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Alicia Modestino headshot

Associate Professor of Public Policy and Urban Affairs and Economics; Director of Research, Dukakis Center

At Northeastern since 2014

Dr. Alicia Sasser 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.

She is also a nonresident fellow at the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program and a faculty affiliate 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.

Read Professor Modestino’s Faculty Spotlight.

View CV
  • 2020 Outstanding Faculty Research Team Award, College of Engineering, Northeastern University
  • 2020 Interdisciplinary Research Sabbatical (with College of Engineering), Office of the Provost, Northeastern University
  • 2019 Outstanding Teaching Award, College of Social Science and Humanities, Northeastern University
  • 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.



Invited Articles:

Policy Reports:


  • American Economic Association
  • Committee on the Status of Women in the Economics Profession
  • Association for Public Policy Analysis & Management
  • Society of Labor Economists