faculty focus logoLearn about the Malcolm Wiener Center’s faculty members: who they are, what they teach, and why their research and other activities make a difference in the world. In addition to these Faculty Focus spotlights, you can learn about all our faculty members and affiliates by visiting their profile pages.


Marcella Alsan is a Professor of Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School and Director of the Health Inequality Lab, as well as an economist, physician, and public health specialist. In 2021 she won the prestigious MacArthur Fellowship in recognition of her work examining the legacies of discrimination and mistrust in perpetuating racial disparities in health. Alsan received a BA from Harvard University, a master’s in public health from Harvard School of Public Health, a MD from Loyola University, and a PhD in Economics from Harvard University. 

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Desmond Ang is an applied economist and Assistant Professor of Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School. Ang, who received his PhD in economics from the University of California, San Diego, brings an economist’s eye to issues of race, inequality, and justice. His research examines the educational consequences of police violence, the long-run effects of federal oversight under the Voting Rights Act, and the role of media on racial prejudice


Deirdre Bloome is the Peter and Isabel Malkin Professor of Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School, Professor of Sociology at FAS, and Faculty Member at the Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies. Her research focuses on socioeconomic mobility, racial inequality, and family demography. She holds a Ph.D. in Sociology and Social Policy and an A.M. in Statistics from Harvard University. 

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Michela Carlana is an Assistant Professor of Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School. Carlana has focused much of her research on gender inequality in education, and particularly on what forces steer young girls away from, or toward, studying subjects that can prepare them for careers in high-tech. Carlana received her PhD from Bocconi University in June 2018.


David Deming is the Isabelle and Scott Black Professor of Political Economy and the Academic Dean of the Harvard Kennedy School. He is also the Faculty Dean of Kirkland House at Harvard College, a Research Associate at NBER, and a faculty lead of the Project on Workforce, a cross-Harvard initiative that focuses on building better pathways to economic mobility through the school-to-work transition. He recently co-founded (with Ben Weidmann) the Skills Lab, which creates performance-based measures of “soft” skills such as teamwork and decision-making. Deming is an economist who studies education, skill development, and economic inequality.


Will Dobbie is a Professor of Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School and a Faculty Research Fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research. His research focuses broadly on the causes and consequences of poverty in the U.S. His recent work has examined racial bias in the criminal justice system, the labor market consequences of bad credit reports, and the long-run effects of charter schools.

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Gordon Hanson is the Peter Wertheim Professor in Urban Policy.  He is also Chair of the Social and Urban Policy Area at HKS, a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and Faculty Co-Director of the Reimagining the Economy project. His work addresses problems at the knotty intersection of economics, international trade, and immigration—problems that feel especially relevant and complex now as the coronavirus epidemic lays bare the interconnected nature of our world. Hanson received his PhD in economics from MIT.

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Daniel Schneider is the Malcolm Wiener Professor of Social Policy at Harvard Kennedy School and Professor of Sociology at FAS. He focuses his research on demography, inequality, and the family. He has written on class inequality in parenting, the role of economic resources in marriage, divorce, and fertility, the effects of the Great Recession, and the scope of household financial fragility. As Co-Director of The Shift Project, his current research focuses on how precarious and unpredictable work schedules affects household economic security and worker and family health and wellbeing. Professor Schneider completed his B.A. in Public Policy at Brown University in 2003 and earned his PhD in Sociology and Social Policy from Princeton University in 2012. 

Mark Shepard is an Associate Professor of Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School and a faculty research fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research. His research studies health care markets, with topics at the intersection of health, industrial organization, and public economics. Much of his work focuses on competition and policy design in health insurance markets, particularly in public programs like the Massachusetts/ACA health insurance exchanges and Medicaid managed care. Mark received his PhD in economics from Harvard University (2015) and his A.B. in applied math from Harvard (2008).

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Sandra Susan Smith is the Daniel and Florence Guggenheim Professor of Criminal Justice, Director of the Malcolm Wiener Center for Social Policy, and Faculty Director of the Program in Criminal Justice Policy and Management. She is also the Carol K. Pforzheimer Professor at the Radcliffe Institute. Her areas of interest include urban poverty and joblessness, social capital and social networks, and, more recently, the front end of criminal case processing, with a particular interest in the short- and long-term consequences of pretrial detention and diversion. In each of these areas, racial inequality and its root causes are core areas of concern. Smith is one of the country’s leading sociologists, an expert in the areas of urban poverty, joblessness, and criminal justice. Smith holds an MA and Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Chicago and a B.A. in history-sociology from Columbia University

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