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Amy Ellen Schwartz

Amy Ellen Schwartz

Contact Information:

Amy Ellen Schwartz

Professor Emerita, Economics Department

Highest degree earned

Ph.D., Columbia University, 1989


Amy Ellen Schwartz is professor emerita of economics and professor emerita of public administration and international affairs. She is the Daniel Patrick Moynihan Chair in Public Affairs at Syracuse University’s Maxwell School. She is also an emeritus professor of public policy, education and economics at NYU. Schwartz is a co-PI and director of transportation research for the IES-funded National Center for Research on Education Access and Choice.

Her research spans a broad range of topics in education policy and urban economics, focusing on the nexus of schools, neighborhoods and public services and the causes and consequences of children’s academic, social and health outcomes. Current IES-funded work examines the link between transportation, school choice, commuting and student outcomes using unique microdata on New York City public school children. Her NIH-funded study of childhood obesity explores the role of the built environment and the food environment, both at home and at school, providing compelling evidence about “what works” to improve student outcomes. Other work examines the impacts of housing (e.g. vouchers, public housing), neighborhood crime and special education, among others. 

Schwartz is a leading expert on the use of large-scale administrative micro-data sets for policy research, drawing on more than twenty years of collaborative research using detailed micro-data on New York City public school children, buildings, resources, neighborhoods, retail establishments and taxation.  

She also serves on various editorial boards, including Regional Science and Urban Economics, PLOS-One, and Education Finance and Policy and was the editor of Education Finance and Policy from 2014-2019. At Maxwell, she is the director of the doctoral program in public affairs, a senior research associate at the Center for Policy Research, and the leader of the Education and Social Policy Working Group. At NYU, Schwartz was the director of the Institute for Education and Social Policy.

Areas of Expertise

Public economics, economics of education, urban economics, health economics

Research Grant Awards and Projects

Co-Principal Investigator. “School Choice Policy Research Center: A National Research Partnership to Improve School Choice for Disadvantaged Students.” Funded by the Institute of Education Sciences (IES)/DOE. 2016-2023.

Principal Investigator. “Between Home and School: The School Bus and Student Outcomes.” Funded by the Institute of Education Sciences (IES). 2017-2020.

Co-Principal Investigator. "The Impact of the Built Environment on Child BMI." with Brian Ebel. Funded by New York University (NYU)/National Institute of Health (NIH). 2016-2021.

Co-Principal Investigator. “Special Education Policy Reforms: Equal Opportunity at Last?” Funded by New York University (NYU)/Spencer Foundation. 2015-2017.

Co-Principal Investigator. “Impact of the Food Environment on Child Body Mass Index,” with Brian Ebel. Funded by New York University (NYU) /National Institute of Health (NIH). 2013-2017.

Selected Publications

“School Wellness Programs: Magnitude and Distribution in New York City Public Schools." Amy Ellen Schwartz, Leanna Stiefel, Brian Elbel, Melissa Pflugh Prescott, Siddhartha Aneja, Journal of School Health (Forthcoming).

“Do Top Dogs Rule in Middle School? Evidence on Bullying, Safety, and Belonging." Amy Ellen Schwartz, Leanna Stiefel, and Michah Rothbart, American Educational Research Journal (AERJ), Vol. 53, No. 5 (September 14, 2016), pp. 1450-1484DOI: 10.3102/0002831216657177.

Unexpected Arrivals: The Spillover Effects of Mid-Year Entry on Stable Student Achievement in New York City."  Amy Ellen Schwartz, Leanna Stiefel, and Emily Whitesell, Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis (August 10, 2016). DOI: 10.3102/0162373716661242.

“Why Don’t Housing Choice Voucher Recipients Live Near Better Schools? Insights from Big Data." Amy Ellen Schwartz, Ingrid Gould Ellen, and Keren Mertens Horn, Journal of Policy Analysis and Management (JPAM), Vol. 35, No. 4 (June 27, 2016), pp. 884-905. DOI: 10.1002/pam.21929. 

Neighborhoods, Schools and Obesity: The Potential for Place-Based Approaches to Reduce Childhood Obesity." Amy Ellen Schwartz and Brian Elbel, Sean P. Corcoran, PLOS One (June 16, 2016).  

Are All Schools Created Equal?: Learning Environments in Small and Large High Schools in New York City." Jessica Boccardo, Amy Ellen Schwartz, Leanna Stiefel, and Matthew Wiswall. Education of Education Review, Vol. 52 (June, 2016), pp. 272-290. 

Moving Matters: The Causal Effect of School Mobility on Student Performance." Amy Ellen Schwartz, Leanna Stiefel, and Sarah Cordes, Education Finance and Policy (May 18, 2016). DOI:10.1162/EDFP_a_00. 

“The Effect of Breakfast in the Classroom on Obesity and Academic Performance: Evidence from New York City." Sean P. Corcoran, Brian Elbel, and Amy Ellen Schwartz, Journal of Policy Analysis and Management (JPAM), Vol. 35, No. 3 (March 30, 2016), pp. 509-532. DOI: 10.1002/pam.21909.

Effect of a School-Based Water Intervention on Child Body Mass Index and Obesity." Amy Ellen Schwartz, Michele Leardo, Siddhartha Aneja, and Brian Elbel, Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Pediatrics, Vol. 170, No. 3 (January 19, 2016), pp. 220-226.  DOI:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2015.3778. 

“Impacts of Classifying New York City Students as Overweight." Douglas Almond, Ajin Lee, and Amy Ellen Schwartz, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), Vol. 113, No. 13 (2016), pp. 3488-3491. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1518443113.

Does Small High School Reform Lift Urban Districts? Evidence from NYC." Leanna Stiefel, Matthew Wiswall, and Amy Ellen Schwartz, Educational Researcher, Vol. 44, No. 3 (March 30, 2015), pp. 161-172.  

"Is Neighbourhood Destiny? Exploring the Link Between Neighbourhood Mobility and Student Outcomes." Sarah Cordes, Amy Ellen Schwartz, Leanna Stiefel and Jeffrey Zabel, Urban Studies, Vol. 53 (January 8, 2015), pp. 400-417. DOI: 10.1177/0042098014563469. 

“Toward an Understanding of Productivity in Education." Jennifer King Rice and Amy Ellen Schwartz; Helen F. Ladd and Margaret E. Goertz (Editors), Handbook of Research in Education Finance and Policy; New York, NY: Routledge, Capter 8 (2015), pp. 131-145.

For a full list of publications, please refer to Professor Schwartz's CV.

Journal Appointments

  • Editorial Board, Regional Science and Urban Economics, 2016-present
  • Editor, Education Finance and Policy, 2014-present