Rebecca Johnson

Rebecca Johnson

Assistant Professor, McCourt School of Public Policy

Georgetown University


Welcome to my site! I’m an Assistant Professor at Georgetown University’s McCourt School of Public Policy, where I teach data science in the MS in Data Science for Public Policy and am affiliated with the Massive Data Institute and Department of Sociology. 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.

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