Professor of Economics; Professor of Public Policy, Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy; Faculty Associate, Survey Research Center, Institute for Social Research


Dr. Smith’s research studies methods for the evaluation of government programs, many of which serve the disadvantaged populations of concern to the initiative. Much of the substantive side of my research concerns active labor market programs, such as JTPA, WIA and now WIOA, that serve primarily disadvantaged populations.

Prior to joining the faculty at U-M in 2005, he was on the faculty at the University of Western Ontario from 1994 to 2001, and from 2001 to 2005 he was on the faculty at the University of Maryland. His research centers on experimental and non-experimental methods for the evaluation of interventions, with particular application to social and educational programs. He has also written papers examining the labor market effects of university quality and the use of statistical treatment rules to assign persons to government programs. Important publications include “Is the Threat of Reemployment Services More Effective than the Services Themselves?” (with Dan Black, Mark Berger, and Brett Noel) in the American Economic Review (2003); “The Economics and Econometrics of Active Labor Market Programmes” (with James Heckman and Robert LaLonde), Handbook of Labor Economics, Volume 3A (1999); “Does Matching Overcome LaLonde’s Critique of Nonexperimental Methods?” (with Petra Todd), Journal of Econometrics (2005); and “Heterogeneous Program Impacts: Experimental Evidence from the PROGRESA Program” (with Habiba Djebbari), Journal of Econometrics (2008). He has consulted to governments in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia on evaluation issues.

Ph.D., M.A. University of Chicago; B.A., B.S. University of Washington