Paco Martorell

Professor and Chair of the Graduate Group in Education

Portrait of Paco Martorell

Francisco (Paco) Martorell joined the School as an assistant professor in July 2014. Martorell completed his PhD in economics at UC Berkeley. Prior to joining the School, he was an Economist at the RAND Corporation and was a professor at the Pardee RAND Graduate School since 2006. He has broad research interests in both higher education and K-12 policy. Current projects cover areas including developmental education in colleges, the effects of grade retention, the returns to for-profit colleges, the impacts of school facility investments, and community college tuition subsidies. He also has conducted research on health care including studies examining the economic costs of dementia as well as research on the economic and educational consequences of military service. 

Professional Experience

University of California at Davis School of Education

  • Assistant Professor, 2014-

RAND Corporation

  • Adjunct Economist, 2014-
  • Economist, 2009-2014
  • Professor, Pardee RAND Graduate School, 2006-2014
  • Associate Economist, 2005-2009

University of Texas at Dallas Center for Research on Education Policy,

  • Research Scholar, 2012-


  • PhD, Economics, University of California at Berkeley, May 2005
  • BA, Economics and Mathematics, Carleton College, June 1999


  • Huddleson Award for Outstanding Teaching, Pardee RAND Graduate School, 2009
  • RAND President’s Award, 2008
  • Public Policy Research Award, UC Berkeley Department of Economics, 2005

Research Papers

Journal Articles

“Percent Plans, Automatic Admissions, and College Enrollment Outcomes” (with Lindsay Daugherty and Isaac McFarlin). http://npc.umich.edu/publications/u/2012-18-npc-working-paper.pdf forthcoming in IZA Journal of Labor Economics.

 “The Signaling Value of a High School Diploma” (with Damon Clark). 2014. Journal of Political Economy. 122(2): 282-318.

“Does Failing a Mandatory Placement Exam Discourage College-Going?” (with Isaac McFarlin and Yu Xue).  Education Finance and Policy (forthcoming).

 “The Monetary Costs of Dementia in the United States” (with Michael Hurd, Kenneth Langa, Kathleen Mullen, and Adeline Delavande). 2013. New England Journal of Medicine. 368:14, 1326-1334.

“The Academic Effects of Summer Instruction and Retention in New York City” (with Lou Mariano). 2013. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis. 35:1, 96-117.

 “Dementia and Out-of-Pocket Spending on Health Care Services” (with Adeline Delavande, Michael Hurd and Kenneth Langa). 2013. Alzheimer’s and Dementia. 9:1, 19-29.

 “Reading Coach Quality: Findings from Florida Middle Schools” (with Julie Marsh and Jennifer Sloan McCombs). 2012. Literacy Research and Instruction. 51:1, 1-26.

“Help or Hindrance? The Effects of College Remediation on Academic and Labor Market Outcomes” (with Isaac McFarlin). 2011. Review of Economics and Statistics. 93:2, 436–454.

“How Instructional Coaches Support Data-Driven Decision Making: Policy Implementation and Effects in Florida Middle Schools” (with Julie Marsh and Jennifer Sloan McCombs). 2010. Educational Policy. 24:6, 872-907.

Working Papers and Papers Under Review

 “Do Employers Prefer Workers who Attended For-Profit Colleges? Evidence from a Field Experiment” (with Rajeev Darolia, Cory Koedel, Katie Wilson, and Francisco Perez-Arce). http://economics.missouri.edu/working-papers/2014/WP1411_koedel.pdf. Under Review

 “The Effect of Incentives for Increasing Summer School Attendance: Evidence from a Field Experiment” (with Catherine Augustine, Trey Miller, and Lucrecia Santibanez). Revision requested at Economics of Education Review.

Other Peer-Reviewed Publications

“The Effect of Military Enlistment on Earnings and Education” (with David Loughran, Jacob Klerman, and Trey Miller). 2011. RAND TR-955-A

 “Deployment, Reenlistment Intentions, and Actual Reenlistment: Single and Married Active-Component Service Members” (with James Hosek). 2011. In Risk and Resilience in U.S. Military Families, edited by Shelley MacDermid Wadsworth and David Riggs, 281-304. Springer.

“Cash Incentives and Military Enlistment, Attrition, and Reenlistment” (with Beth Asch, Paul Heaton, James Hosek, Curtis Simon, and John Warner). 2011. RAND MG-950-OSD.

“An Exploratory Analysis of Adequate Yearly Progress, Identification for Improvement, and Student Achievement in Two States and Three Cities. Technical Report” (with Brian Gill, J.R. Lockwood, Claude Setodji, and Kevin Booker). 2009. U.S. Department of Education.

 “How Do Earnings Change When Reservists Are Activated? A Reconciliation of Estimates Derived From Survey and Administrative Data” (with Jacob Klerman and David Loughran). 2008. RAND TR-565-OSD.

 “Supporting Literacy Across the Sunshine State: A Study of Florida Middle School Reading Coaches” (with Julie Marsh, Jennifer Sloan McCombs, J.R. Lockwood, Daniel Gershwin, Scott Naftel, Vi-Nhuan Le, Molly Shea, Heather Barney, and Al Crego). 2008. RAND MG-762-EDU.

“Survey of Recent Qatari Secondary School Graduates: Methods and Results” (with Vazha Nadareishvili and Hanine Salem). 2008. RAND TR-578-QATAR.

“Post-Secondary Education in Qatar: Employer Demand, Student Choice, and Options for Policy” (with Cathleen Stasz and Eric Eide). 2007. RAND MG-644-QATAR.

Current and Completed Research Grants

Co-Investigator. “On the Importance of School Facilities Spending to Student Outcomes” 2014-2017. (IES grant R305A140363)

Co-Investigator. “Designing a RCT Experiment to Test the Impact of Innovative Interventions and Policies for Postsecondary Developmental Education: A RAND-Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board Research Partnership” 2013-2015. (IES grant R305H130026)

Principal Investigator. “An Audit Study of the Labor Market’s Perception of For-Profit College Graduates” 2012-2013. (Spencer Foundation grant 2012-0901).

Co-Principal Investigator. “Evaluation of the Long-Term Effects of Retention Under New York City’s Student Promotion Policy” 2012-2017. (IES grant R305E120006).

Co-Investigator (Principal Investigator for RAND subcontract). “Causes and Consequences of Public Subsidies in Higher Education: Evidence from Community College Districts” 2010-2013. (IES grant R305A100369).

Co-Investigator (Principal Investigator for RAND subcontract). “Transitions Through Higher Education: Evidence on the Mismatch Hypothesis” 2008-2011. (IES grant R305A080620).

Co-Investigator (Principal Investigator for RAND subcontract). “The Effects of College Remediation on Students’ Academic and Labor Market Outcomes” 2007-2009. (IES grant R305B070581).

Co-Investigator. “The Costs of Dementia” 2007-2012. (NIA Grant R01 AG030155).

Co-Investigator (Principal Investigator for RAND subcontract). “The Impact of Exit Exam Performance on High School and Post-Secondary Outcomes” 2006-2008. (IES grant R305R060096).

Co-Investigator (Principal Investigator for RAND subcontract). “Help or Hindrance? A Quasi-Experimental Evaluation of College Remediation” 2006-2009. (Smith Richardson Foundation grant 2006-5747).

Principal Investigator. “The Returns to Military Service Among Disadvantaged Youth.” 2007-2009. (NICHD grant R03HD056074).



Empirical Analysis 3 (Econometrics), Pardee RAND Graduate School (Spring 2006-Spring 2013).

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