Brian Jacob

Institution: University of Michigan

Brian A. Jacob is the Walter H. Annenberg Professor of Education Policy and Professor of Economics in the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan.  His primary fields of interest are labor economics, program evaluation, and the economics of education. Jacob’s research on education covers a wide variety of topics from school choice to teacher labor markets to standards and accountability.  His work has appeared in top economics journals including the American Economic Review, the Quarterly Journal of Economics, and the Review of Economics and Statistics.   Earlier in his career, he served as a policy analyst in the NYC Mayor's Office and taught middle school in East Harlem.  He is also a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research, and a member of the editorial boards of the American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, Education Finance and Policy and the Review of Economics and Statistics.  Jacob received his BA from Harvard College and his PhD from the University of Chicago.  In 2008 he was awarded APPAM's David N. Kershaw Prize for Distinguished Contributions to Public Policy by Age 40.


Brian A. Jacob.

Media reports suggest that parent frustration with COVID school policies and the growing politicization of education have increased community engagement with local public schools. However, there is no evidence to date on whether these factors have translated into greater engagement at the ballot box. This paper uses a novel data set to explore how school board elections changed following the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. I find that school board elections post-COVID were more likely to be contested, and that voter turnout in contested elections increased. These changes were large in magnitude and varied with several district characteristics.

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