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’ll be teaching data science in the MS in Data Science for Public Policy and affiliated with the Massive Data Institute. 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:


  • 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