David N. Kershaw Award

About the Award

The 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 will be presented prominently at the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management’s (APPAM’s) 2020 Annual Conference, which will be held in Washington, DC, November 12-14, 2020. The recipient will be invited to deliver the David N. Kershaw Lecture in a Conference Super Session and will receive a cash prize of $20,000 at the Awards Reception & Presidential Address.

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.

The committee invites nominations through Friday, May 1, 2020. Nominees for the 2020 award should be under the age of 40 as of December 31, 2019. To submit a nomination, please complete this form.

About Our 2018 Recipient: David J. Deming, Harvard University


Harvard University professor David J. Deming was presented with the David N. Kershaw Award and Prize for his contributions to the field of public policy analysis and management at APPAM's 2018 Fall Research Conference. Deming, a professor of public policy at  Harvard Kennedy School and professor of education and economics at the  Harvard Graduate School of Education, received the award from the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management (APPAM) at its Fall Research Conference on November 8-10, 2018, in Washington, DC.

Professor Deming has conducted extensive research in the areas of secondary education and employment training and job skills. Deming co-directs the  Harvard Inequality and Social Policy program at the Kennedy School’s Malcolm Wiener Center for Social Policy and helped to establish the  Collegiate Leaders in Increasing MoBility (CLIMB) Initiative, a partnership between colleges and universities, policymakers, and researchers that seeks to better understand higher education’s role in facilitating social mobility.

“David’s work embodies APPAM’s mission to improve public policy through research and analysis that moves the needle on our biggest social challenges,” said APPAM President-elect and Mathematica vice president Matthew Stagner. “His research on the importance of education and training has not only advanced our collective understanding of the issues at play, but his approach through CLIMB highlights the role researchers can play in finding real-world solutions, as well.”

Deming is the 19th 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 commemorative medal and cash prize, is offered every other year. Past winners include Alan Krueger of Princeton University and Esther Duflo of Massachusetts Institute of Technology.


David N. Kershaw, for whom the award is named, was the first president of  Mathematica Policy Research, a nonpartisan policy research firm dedicated to uncovering insights that improve public well-being. 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. It is among the largest and most prestigious awards to recognize contributions related to public policy and social science.

Deming delivered a Super Session talk entitled, “What Does Education Do?” at the APPAM Fall Research Conference on Friday afternoon, November 9, 2018 at 3:15 pm. Deming then received the award during the Presidential Address and APPAM Awards beginning at 5:00 pm.

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)