David J. Zimmerman

Photo of David J. Zimmerman

Professor of Economics and Orrin Sage Professor of Political Economy

Schapiro Hall Rm 301


B.A. University of Toronto (1985)
M.A. Princeton University (1987)
Ph.D. Princeton University, Economics (1992)

Areas of Expertise

  • Inequality and Economic Mobility
  • Poverty and Income Distribution
  • Labor Market Discrimination
  • Peer Effects in Education
  • The Economics of Higher Education

Current Committees

  • Athletics Committee


Tobin, J.; Hall, O.; Lazris, J.; Zimmerman, D. Financial Stress and Health Considerations: A Tradeoff in the Reopening Decisions of U.S. Liberal Arts Colleges during the COVID-19 Pandemic. J. Risk Financial Manag. 2021, 14(8), 382.

“Access and Affordability in Selective, Private Non-profit Colleges and Universities Leadership” with Catharine Hill in Challenges in Higher Education: Practical and Scholarly Solutions, Routledge, 2017.

“Students Choosing Colleges: Understanding the Matriculation Decision at a Highly Selective Private Institution.”  Economics of Education Review.  February, 2012.  With Peter Nurnberg and Morton Schapiro.

Targeting Investments in Children: Fighting Poverty When Resources Are Limited. Chicago: University of Chicago, 2010. Edited with Phillip B. Levine.

“Goodwill”: Measuring the Intangible Assets at Highly Selective Private Colleges and Universities.” September, 2011. With Morton Schapiro and Peter Nurberg. 

“Are Poor Students Just Rich Students Without the Money?” Williams Project on the Economics of Higher Education Discussion Paper, 2006.

“Children’s Welfare Exposure and Subsequent Development.” Journal of Public Economics. Vol. 89, No. 1. January, 2005. Pages 31-56. With Phillip B. Levine.

“Institutional Ethos, Peers, and Individual Outcomes.” Williams Project on the Economics of Higher Education Discussion Paper 68, June 2004.

“Discrimination in the Small-Business Credit Market.” The Review of Economics and Statistics. Vol. 85, No. 4. November, 2003. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press. Pages 930-943. With David G. Blanchflower and Phillip B. Levine.

“Peer Effects in Higher Education: Evidence from a Natural Experiment.” Review of Economics and Statistics. Vol. 85, No. 1. 2003. Pages 9-23.

“Peer Effects in Higher Education.” College Decisions: How Students Actually Make Them and How They Could. ed. Caroline Hoxby. University of Chicago Press, 2003. With Gordon Winston.

Statistics and Econometrics: Methods and Applications. New York: J. Wiley, 2003. With Orley Ashenfelter and Phillip B. Levine.

“Book Review: Tuition Rising, by Ronald Ehrenberg.” Journal of Economic Literature, June 2002, v. 40, iss. 2, pp. 546-47.

“Where is Aggressive Price Competition Taking Higher Education.” Change. Vol. 32, No. 4. July/August, 2000. Pages 10-19. With Gordon C. Winston.

“Students Educating Students: The Emerging Role of Peer Effects in Higher Education.” Williams Project on the Economics of Higher Education Discussion Paper 50, 1999. with George Goethals and Gordon Winston.

“Students Educating Students: The Role of Peer Effects in Higher Education.” Futures Forum, 1999. With George Goethals and Gordon Winston.

“An Empirical Analysis of the Welfare Magnet Debate Using the NLSY.” Journal of Population Economics. Vol. 12, No. 3. 1999. Pages 391-401. With Phillip B. Levine.

“Roe v. Wade and American Fertility.” American Journal of Public Health. Vol. 89, No. 2. February, 1999. Pages 199-203. With Phillip B. Levine, Thomas J. Kane, and Douglas Staiger.

“Estimates of the Returns to Schooling from Sibling Data: Fathers, Sons, and Brothers.” Review of Economics and Statistics. Vol. 79, No. 1. February, 1997. With Orley Ashenfelter.

“Parastatals in Zambia.” The Evaluation of Public Expenditure in Africa. ed. Henry J. Bruton, Catharine Hill, and Arup Banerji Washington, D.C.: World Bank, 1996. With Arup Banerji and Mwene Mwinga.

“The Intergenerational Correlation in AFDC Participation: Welfare Trap or Poverty Trap?” Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Paper 1100-96. 1996. With Phillip B. Levine.

“The Effects of State Restrictions on Medicaid Funding of Abortions,” Focus. Vol. 17, No. 3. Winter, 1996.

“The Effect of Medicaid Abortion Funding Restrictions on Abortions, Pregnancies and Births.” Journal of Health Economics. Vol. 15, No. 5. October, 1996. With Phil Levine and Amy Trainor.

“Book Review: Values and Public Policy, by Henry Aaron, Thomas Mann, and Timothy Taylor (eds.).” Journal of Economic Literature, 1996.

“A Comparison of the Sex-Type of Occupational Aspirations and Subsequent Achievement.” Work and Occupations. Vol. 22, No. 1. February, 1995. Pages 73-84. With Phillip B. Levine.

“The Benefit of Additional High School Math and Science Classes For Young Women: Evidence From Longitudinal Data.” Journal of Business and Economic Statistics. Vol. 13, No. 2. April, 1995. With Phillip B. Levine.

“Book Review: The State of Working America, by Lawrence Mishel and Jared Bernstein.” Choice. October 1993.

“Book Review: A Small Town in Modern Times, by David M. Rayside.” Journal of Regional Science. Vol. 32, No. 3. August 1992.

“Regression Toward Mediocrity in Economic Stature.” The American Economic Review. Vol. 82, No. 3. June,1992. Pages 409-429.

Works in Progress

“The High School Origin of Students at Elite Colleges.” With Catharine B. Hill and Ralph Bradburd.

“Neighborhood Peer Effects in Higher Education.”

“Maternal Welfare Receipt and Children’s Educational Performance.” with Phillip B. Levine.

“Maternal Welfare Receipt and Teen Fertility: An Intergenerational Analysis.” with Phillip B. Levine.

Selected Work Experience

Research Associate, National Bureau of Economic Research, 2003-2018

Chair, Department of Economics, Williams College, 2002 -2005, 20010-2011, 2018-19

Professor, Williams College, 2003-
Associate Professor of Economics, Williams College, 1997 –
Assistant Professor of Economics, Williams College, 1991-1997

Associate, Institute for Research on Poverty, 1996 –

Director, Williams Project on the Economics of Higher Education, 2002-

Participant, Williams Project on the Economics of Higher Education, 1995-2001
Participant, Forum for the Future of Higher Education, 1997
Participant, NBER Program on Children’s Economic Welfare, 1993
Participant, NBER Program on Higher Education, 1998 –
Faculty Member, Law and Economics Center, George Mason University School of Law, Course for Law Professors on Advanced Quantitative Methods, Dartmouth College, July 1993 and July 1995.
Sabbatical Scholar, Institute for Research on Poverty, University of Wisconsin – Madison, 1995.
Sabbatical Scholar, Centre for Industrial Relations, University of Toronto, June 1994 – December 1994.
Lecturer, Department of Economics, Princeton University, 1990 – 1991.
Teaching Assistant, Princeton University, 1988-1990.
Researcher, The World Bank, 1987-1988.