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Robert Bifulco

Robert Bifulco

Contact Information:


426 Eggers Hall

Office Hours:

By appointment

Staff Support:

Zia Jackson


Robert Bifulco

Professor, Public Administration and International Affairs Department

Senior Research Associate, Center for Policy Research


Fall 2023

PAI 800.001 Program Evaluation, Tuesday 2:00-4:45, Eggers Hall 225B

PAI 803.001 Quantitative Methods I: Research Methods for Public Administration, Monday & Wednesday 11:00-12:30, Life Science Building 215

Highest degree earned

Ph.D., Syracuse University, 2001


Robert Bifulco is a professor in the Public Administration and International Affairs Department at the Maxwell School, as well as a senior research associate in the Center for Policy Research and the Program on Educational Equity and Policy (PEEPs). His prior teaching experience was at University of Connecticut where he received the Distinguished Professor Award. Professor Bifulco has taught courses on public budgeting, state and local finance, economic analysis, education policy, research methods, quantitative analysis and program evaluation. 

Professor Bifulco has had affiliations with CALDER and the Center for Education Policy Analysis (CEPA) at the University of Connecticut. His research has been supported by the Smith Richardson Foundation, the Connecticut State Department of Education, and by the New York State Education Department.

His research focuses on the evaluation of educational policies and programs with specific interests in the interactions of school segregation, school policies and student outcomes. Professor Bifulco has also conducted research on the measurement of school performance, educational resource disparities, and peer effects. He has published articles evaluating whole-school reform, school accountability programs, charter schools, magnet schools, and place-based college scholarship programs, which have appeared in the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, Education Finance and Policy, and the American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, among other academic journals.

He has prepared analyses of school finance issues and the design of state aid formulas for Governor M. Jodi Rell’s Commission on Education Finance and for the plaintiffs in the Connecticut school finance case CCJEF v. Rell.

Professor Bifulco received a Ph.D. and an M.P.A. from Syracuse University’s Maxwell School, along with an M.A. and a B.A. in philosophy from Rice and Bucknell Universities, respectively.

Areas of Expertise

Education finance and policy, program evaluation

Research Grant Awards and Projects

Principle Investigator. “Third-Party Evaluation of Say Yes in Buffalo,” with Ross Rubenstein. Funded by the Say Yes Foundation. 2013-2017.


Selected Papers

Working Papers

“The Effects of Say Yes to Education on High School Graduation, College Matriculation and College Persistence” (with R. Rubenstein and H. Sohn).  

“The Effect of Charter Schools on District Costs and Efficiency: The Case of New York State” (with C. Buerger).  

Who Benefits from Accountability-Driven School Closure? Evidence from New York City” (with D. Schwegman).  

"The Relative Costs of New York City’s New Small Public High Schools of Choice." R. Unterman and H. Bloom.

Recent Publications 

“Using Synthetic Controls to Estimate the Effect of Unique Interventions: The Case of Say Yes to Education.” (with R. Rubenstein and H. Sohn).  Evaluation Review, November 2017, pp. 593-619.

"Assessing the Effects of Place Based Scholarships on Urban Revitalization: The Case of Say Yes to Education" (with R. Rubenstein, H. Sohn, and J. Murchie). Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, June 2017, pp. 198-272.

"The Effects of School Desegregation on Teenage Fertility." L. Lopoo and S. Oh, Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, December 2015, pp. 591-611.

"The Influence of Finance and Accountability Policies on Charter School Locations." C. Buerger, Journal of Education Finance (Winter, 2015), pp. 193-221.

"Do High School Peers Have Persistent Effects on College Attainment and Other Life Outcomes?" J. Fletcher, S. Oh, and S. Ross. Labour Economics (August, 2014), pp. 83-90.

"The Fiscal Impacts of Charter Schools: Lessons from New York." R. Reback, Education, Finance and Policy (Winter, 2014), pp. 86-107.

"Debt and Deception: How States Avoid Making Hard Fiscal Decisions." W. Duncombe, B. Bunch, M. Robins, and W. Simonsen, Public Administration Review (September/October, 2012), pp. 659-669.

"Intergroup Relations in Integrated Schools: A Glimpse Inside Interdistrict Magnet Schools." C. Buerger and C. Cobb, Education Policy Analysis Archives (September, 2012). 

"Can Nonexperimental Estimates Replicate Estimates Based on Random Assignment in Evaluations of School Choice? A Within-Study Comparison." Journal of Policy Analysis and Management (Summer, 2012), pp. 729-751.

"The Effect of Classmate Characteristics on Post-Secondary Outcomes: Evidence from the Add Health." J. Fletcher and S. Ross, American Economic Journal-Economic Policy (February, 2011), pp. 25-53.