Harvard Kennedy School faculty member Elizabeth Linos has been awarded the prestigious David N. Kershaw Award and Prize for her research on how governments can build a more effective workforce and provide better public services.  

The award, which honors persons under 40 who have made distinguished research-driven contributions to the field of public policy analysis and management, was announced October 5 by the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management. Linos will be recognized at APPAM’s Fall Research Conference (APPAM) in Atlanta in November.  

The David N. Kershaw Award and Prize is one of the largest awards recognizing outstanding work in public policy research and social science, with recipients receiving a commemorative sculpture and a $20,000 cash prize. Linos received the award for her work on how to recruit, retain, and support the best government workforce, as well as how governments can improve the design, implementation, and evaluation of public policies and programs. 

Elizabeth Linos is the Emma Bloomberg Associate Professor of Public Policy and Management, and faculty director of The People Lab, at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. She completed her bachelor’s degree in government and economics and her PhD in public policy at Harvard University.  

Previously, Linos was an assistant professor of public policy at the University of California, Berkeley; vice president and head of research and evaluation at the Behavioral Insights Team - North America; and a policy advisor for social innovation to the prime minister of Greece. She also served in various roles at the Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL). Linos has published frequently in numerous academic journals and leading media outlets.  

“Dr. Linos effectively applies expertise in public policy, experience in public administration, and a behavioral economics lens to help uncover important insights about how governments can best serve people,” said Paul Decker, president and chief executive officer of Mathematica. “She exemplifies the spirit of the Kershaw Award, and her portfolio is a testament to the role that modern social scientists should strive to play in not only shaping policy but also ensuring that government services are reaching those who need them most.”  

As the 23rd winner of the David N. Kershaw Award and Prize, Linos joins a distinguished group of professionals who have made significant contributions to the field of public policy before the age of 40. David Kershaw, for whom the award is named, was the first president of Mathematica. He helped establish APPAM in 1979, shortly before his death from cancer that year at age 37. The award in his memory was created in 1983 and has since been jointly administered by Mathematica and APPAM. 

“I am so delighted to see APPAM recognize Elizabeth Linos for her brilliant and impactful research on government performance and public leadership,” said Professor David Deming, academic dean of Harvard Kennedy School and a prior Kershaw Award winner. “Her work helps us understand why some public sector agencies are so much more effective than others, and she applies those lessons to policy and practice through her innovative work at The People Lab at Harvard Kennedy School. I cannot imagine a more fitting recipient of the Kershaw Award.”