Helen F. Ladd

Helen F. Ladd

Professor Emeritus of Economics

External Address: 
230 Rubenstein Hall, Box 90132, Durham, NC 27708
Internal Office Address: 
Box 90312, Durham, NC 27708-0312
Phone: 
(919) 613-7352

Helen F. Ladd is the Susan B. King Professor Emerita  of Public Policy and Economics at Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy.  Her education research focuses on school finance and accountability, teacher labor markets, school choice, and early childhood programs.  With colleagues at Duke University and UNC, she has used rich longitudinal administrative data from North Caroline to study school segregation, teacher labor markets, teacher quality, charter schools, and early childhood programs. With her husband, Edward Fiske, she has written books and articles on education reform efforts in New Zealand, South Africa, the Netherlands, and England.

She is the co-author or co-editor of 12 books. These include Holding Schools Accountable: Performance-Based Reform in Education (Brookings Institution, 1996); The Handbook of Research in Education Finance and Policy (2008 and second edition 2015), books on school reform in New Zealand and South Africa, and Educational Goods: Values, Evidence and Decision Making (University of Chicago Press, 2018).

From 1996-99 she co-chaired a National Academy of Sciences Committee on Education Finance. In that capacity she is the co-editor of two books: a set of background papers, Equity and Adequacy in Education Finance and the final report, Making Money Matter: Financing America’s Schools.

In 2011, she was elected to membership in the National Academy of Education. During 2016 and 2017 she served as a member of a National Academy study of financing early care and education with a highly qualified workforce. She is currently a member of the N.C. Governor's Commission on Access to a Sound, Basic Education.

She was president of the Association for Public Policy and Management in 2011 and, from its founding in 2008 until 2017 was co-chair of the national campaign for a Broader, Bolder Approach to Education.

Prior to 1986, she taught at Dartmouth College, Wellesley College, and at Harvard University, first in the City and Regional Planning Program and then in the Kennedy School of Government.  She graduated with a B.A. degree from Wellesley College in 1967, received a master's degree from the London School of Economics in 1968, and earned her Ph.D. in economics from Harvard University in 1974.

Early in her career, her research focused on state and local public finance, and she was active in the National Tax Association, which she served as president in 1993-94. She has also been a visiting scholar at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, a senior research fellow at the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, and a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution.

With the support of two Fulbright grants, she spent the spring term of 1998 in New Zealand studying that country’s education system and the spring term of 2002 doing similar research in South Africa. More recently, she spent a term as a visiting researcher at the University of Amsterdam examining the Netherlands’ long experience with parental choice and weighted student funding, and two months in London at the Institute for Fiscal Studies pursuing research on school improvement and English academies.   

Education

  • Ph.D., Harvard University 1974

Muschkin, CG, Ladd, HF, Dodge, KA, and Bai, Y. "Gender Differences in the Impact of North Carolina’s Early Care and Education Initiatives on Student Outcomes in Elementary School." Educational Policy (May 11, 2018): 089590481877390-089590481877390. Full Text

Heissel, JA, and Ladd, HF. "School turnaround in North Carolina: A regression discontinuity analysis." Economics of Education Review 62 (February 2018): 302-320. Full Text

Fiske, EB, and Ladd, HF. "Self-governing schools, parental choice, and the need to protect the public interest." Phi Delta Kappan 99, no. 1 (September 2017): 31-36. Full Text

Dodge, KA, Bai, Y, Ladd, HF, and Muschkin, CG. "Impact of North Carolina's Early Childhood Programs and Policies on Educational Outcomes in Elementary School." Child Development 88, no. 3 (May 2017): 996-1014. Full Text Open Access Copy

Ladd, HF, and Sorensen, LC. "Returns to Teacher Experience: Student Achievement and Motivation in Middle School." Education Finance and Policy 12, no. 2 (April 2017): 241-279. Full Text

Ladd, HF. "NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND: A DEEPLY FLAWED FEDERAL POLICY." Journal of Policy Analysis and Management 36, no. 2 (March 2017): 461-469. Full Text

Ladd, HF. "Commentary." Edited by N Eng and A Ornstein. Journal of Social Issues 72, no. 4 (December 2016): 812-827. Full Text

Brighouse, H, Ladd, HF, Loeb, S, and Swift, A. "Educational goods and values: A framework for decision makers." Theory and Research in Education 14, no. 1 (March 2016): 3-25. Full Text

Pages

Fiske, EB, and Ladd, HF. Elusive Equity: Education reform in post-Apartheid New Zealand. Brookings Institution Press, 2004.

Fiske, EB, and Ladd, HF. When Schools Compete. Brookings Institution Press, September 19, 2001. (Monograph)

Fiske, EB, and Ladd, HF. When Schools Compete. Brookings Institution Press, September 19, 2001.

Fiske, EB, and Ladd, HF. When Schools Compete. Brookings Institution Press, September 19, 2001.

Ladd, HF, and Yinger, J. America's Ailing Cities: Fiscal Health and the Design of Urban Policy. JHU Press, May 1, 1991.

Schafer, R, and Ladd, HF. Discrimination in Mortgage Lending. MIT Press (MA), 1981.

Ladd, HF. "Confessions of a wellesley FEM." In Eminent Economists II: Their Life and Work Philosophies, 249-269. January 1, 2013. Full Text

Ladd, HF, Clotfelter, CT, and Holbein, JB. The Growing Segmentation of the Charter School Sector in North Carolina. October 2017. Full Text

Clotfelter, CT, Ladd, HF, and Vigdor, JL. Algebra for 8th Graders: Evidence on its Effects from 10 North Carolina Districts. December 2012.

Clotfelter, C, Ladd, H, and Vigdor, J. How and Why Do Teacher Credentials Matter for Student Achievement?. 2007.

Clotfelter, CT, Ladd, HF, and Vigdor, JL. "Classroom-level segregation and resegregation in North Carolina." January 1, 2009.

Clotfelter, C, Ladd, Helen, , Vigdor, and Jacob, . "Surprising Success Among Hispanic students." (June 12, 2006). Open Access Copy

Selected Grants

Center for Analysis of Longitudinal Data in Education Research - CALDER awarded by American Institutes for Research (Principal Investigator). 2017 to 2019

Center for Analysis of Longitudinal Data in Education Research - CALDER awarded by American Institutes for Research (Principal Investigator). 2013 to 2018

Exploring the Linkages Between Post-Secondary School and Labor Market Success awarded by American Institutes for Research (Principal Investigator). 2011 to 2014

HUD Community Development Work Study Program awarded by Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) (Senior Investigator). 2001 to 2003