While it is generally understood that defined benefit pension systems concentrate benefits on career teachers and impose costs on mobile teachers...
Robert M. Costrell is Professor of Education Reform and Economics and holds the Endowed Chair in Education Accountability at the University of Arkansas. He is a research collaborator with CALDER. His current research interests include teacher pension policy, fiscal impact of school choice, and methodologies for school funding estimation. He is also an expert in standards-based reform.
Dr. Costrell has both an academic and policy-making background. His academic career has featured seminal publications on the economic theory of educational standards, income distribution and testing, and teacher pensions, as well as school finance litigation. These have appeared in the American Economic Review, the Journal of Political Economy, and Education Finance and Policy, as well as general interest publications, 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 policy research director and chief economist. He worked closely with the administration as accountability reforms, based on exit exams, went into effect. As 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 successful defense of that state's education reform program. He represented the administration on the Public Employee Retirement Administration Commission (2001-03) and the Massachusetts School Building Authority (2005-06).
Dr. Costrell has served on the U.S. Department of Education’s Advisory Council on Education Statistics, appointed by Secretary Paige (2001-02) and the National Technical Advisory Council for NCLB (2008-09), appointed by Secretary Spellings.
Dr. Costrell joined the faculty at the University of Arkansas in August 2006, and is the founding graduate director of the Ph.D. program in Education Policy. Previously he taught Economics at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. He received his Ph.D. in Economics from Harvard University.
Defined Benefit pension plans often generate odd time patterns of benefits. One typical pattern exhibits low accrual in early years, accelerating...
Area of Expertise
- School Choice
- School Funding
- Standards-Based Reform
- Teacher Pension Policy