University of Arkansas
Robert Costrell is Professor of Education Reform and Economics and holds the Endowed Chair in Education Accountability at the University of Arkansas. His areas of expertise in education policy include standards-based reform and school finance. Professor Costrell has both an academic and policy-making background. As a professor of economics at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst from 1978 to 2006, he published seminal articles on the economic theory of educational standards, as well as the theory of income distribution and testing (with Glenn Loury); these have appeared in the top economics journals, such as the American Economic Review and the Journal of Political Economy. He has also written on education policy and finance for more general audiences in journals such as Brookings Papers on Education Policy and Education Next. From 1999 to 2006, Dr. Costrell served in major policy roles for three governors of Massachusetts, including chief economist for the state, and education advisor to Governor Mitt Romney. He helped develop the governor's comprehensive education reform proposal of 2005, and also led the reforms of the state's district and charter funding formulas. In 2003, Dr. Costrell's extensive expert testimony in Massachusetts' school finance case (Hancock v. Driscoll) proved critical to the state's successful defense, and his writings on this landmark case have been influential. He also provided expert testimony in Missouri's school finance case (CEE v. Missouri) in 2007. Since joining the new Department of Education Reform at the University of Arkansas in 2006, his research topics have included teacher pension policy (with Michael Podgursky), longitudinal analysis of student math achievement, and methodologies for school funding estimation. Professor Costrell received his B.A. in economics from the University of Michigan in 1972, and his Ph.D. in economics from Harvard University in 1978.8 and his B.A. in economics from the University of Michigan in 1972.