Rebecca Johnson

Rebecca Johnson

Assistant Professor, Quantitative Social Science

Dartmouth College


Welcome to my site! I’m an Assistant Professor at Dartmouth College in Quantitative Social Science, affiliated with the Department of Sociology and Consortium of Studies in Race, Migration, and Sexuality (RMS). I’m also a 2020-2021 Access to Justice Faculty Scholar with the American Bar Foundation, an academic affiliate with the federal Office of Evaluation Sciences, and a visiting Data Science Fellow with The Lab at DC.

My research studies how social service bureaucracies use a mix of data and discretion to decide who deserves help and focuses particularly on prioritization in K-12 schools. Substantively, I study how underfunded K-12 districts navigate three forces: legal mandates about categories of students to prioritize, fiscal realities, and family advocacy. Methodologically, I use a variety of methods, including tools from causal inference, computational text analysis, machine learning, interviews, and field experiments with large-scale administrative data. Other research focuses on prioritization in other areas of social policy, including rental housing, COVID-19 relief, and civil rights enforcement.

View my CV

Recent News:

  • August 2021: I shared results from an RCT studying whether placing college navigators in public housing reduces race and SES inequalities in postsecondary education at the American Sociological Association paper session on Causes and Consequences of Educational Inequality
  • July 2021: My work with Dartmouth QSS students connecting data science coursework to efforts to improve labor rights enforcement was featured in this Dartmouth News Weekly article: Students Inspired by QSS as a Tool for Social Change
  • June 2021: Looking forward to partnering with Texas Riogrande Legal Aid (TRLA) on a grant we were awarded from the Department of Labor’s Summer Data Challenge on Equity and Underserved Communities. We’ll be studying the role of computational tools in improving equity in oversight of H-2A employers.
  • May 2021: I was awarded a CompX grant from Dartmouth’s Neukom Institute for Computational Science to study the ethics and empirics of algorithms used by K-12 schools for resource prioritization: 2021 CompX awards


  • Computational Social Science/Data Science
  • Social Policy
  • Ethics
  • Education/Health


  • PhD in Demography, Sociology, and Social Policy, 2020

    Princeton University

  • Pre-Doctoral Fellow, Department of Bioethics, 2012-2014

    National Institutes of Health

  • BA, MA, 2012

    Stanford University