David N. Kershaw Award

About the Award

KershawLogo3The David N. Kershaw Award and Prize was established to honor persons who, before the age of 40, have made distinguished contributions to the field of public policy analysis and management. This award seeks to recognize original contributions to research-based knowledge that have advanced the design, implementation, and evaluation of public policies. Eligibility is not contingent on disciplinary background, policy focus or academic credentials.

The Award and Prize was presented prominently at the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management’s (APPAM’s) 2020 Annual Conference, which was held online, November 11-13, 2020. The recipient received a cash prize of $20,000 at the Awards and Opening Plenary.

This prize is among the most prestigious and largest awards recognizing contributions to public policy and social science. Funding for the award comes from a memorial endowment established following the death of David N. Kershaw and managed by independent trustees.

In 2020 a nominating committee generated a short list of finalists, and the final awardee was chosen by the selection committee. The members of the selection committee for the 2020 award were Cecilia Rouse, Mark Watson, and Maria Cancian. The members of the nomination committee were Rebecca Maynard (chair), Raphael Bostic, Diane Shatzenbach, Don Moynihan, Kosali Simon, and Scott Allard.

About Our 2020 Recipient: Kirabo Jackson of Northwestern University


Northwestern University professor Kirabo Jackson has been selected to receive the David N. Kershaw Award and Prize for his contributions to the field of public policy analysis and management. Dr. Jackson will be honored at the 2020 APPAM Fall Research Conference, happening virtually this November.

Dr. Jackson is the Abraham Harris Professor of Education and Social Policy, and Faculty Fellow with the Institute for Policy Research at the Northwestern University. He is a very accomplished scholar in the education policy area, with numerous publications and conference presentations, and his work focuses primarily on better understanding teacher labor markets. In 2016 and 2017, Jackson was listed among the top university-based scholars who are doing the most to influence educational policy and practice by Education Week. He is currently the coeditor at the American Economic Journal: Economic Policy. and he is a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research.

“As the nation continues to grapple with critical education challenges in the context of COVID-19, bringing timely, relevant evidence to these discussions has never been more important,” said Paul Decker, President and CEO of Mathematica and a former president of APPAM. “Through his research and insights, Kirabo is helping to build the evidence base on student achievement and teacher effectiveness, and ensuring that education leaders have access to the information they need to make informed decisions to benefit teachers and students.”

Jackson is the 20th winner of the David N. Kershaw Award and Prize, established to recognize young professionals under the age of 40 who have made distinguished contributions to the field of public policy. The award, consisting of a commemorative sculpture and a $20,000 cash prize, is offered every other year. David N. Kershaw, for whom the award is named, was the first president of Mathematica. The award and prize, first presented in 1983, is made possible by a memorial endowment established in Kershaw's honor after his death from cancer at the age of 37.

Dr. Jackson gave the Kershaw lecture on Thursday, November 12, at 1:00 PM Eastern, during the 2020 APPAM Fall Research Conference.

Prior Award Recipients

The prior winners, and their institutional affiliations at the time they won the award are as follows:

  • 1st award: Joseph Newhouse (Rand Corporation)
  • 2nd award: Lee Friedman (University of California at Berkeley)
  • 3rd award: David Ellwood (Harvard University)
  • 4th award: Deborah Freund (Indiana University)
  • 5th award: Katherine Swartz (Urban Institute)
  • 6th award: Rebecca Blank (Northwestern University)
  • 7th award: John DiIulio (Princeton University)
  • 8th award: Alan Krueger (Princeton University)
  • 9th award: Jonathan Caulkins (Carnegie Mellon University)
  • 10th award: James Hamilton (Duke University)
  • 11th award: David Cutler (Harvard University)
  • 12th award: Carolyn Heinrich (University of Wisconsin-Madison)
  • 13th award: Jens Ludwig (Georgetown University)
  • 14th award: Brian Jacob (University of Michigan)
  • 15th award: Esther Duflo (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
  • 16th award: John MacDonald (University of Pennsylvania)
  • 17th award: Donald Moynihan (University of Wisconsin-Madison)
  • 18th award: Varun Rai (University of Texas at Austin)
  • 19th award: David J. Deming (Harvard University)
  • 20th award: Kirabo Jackson (Northwestern University)