Gema Zamarro Rodriguez

Gema Zamarro Rodriguez


Endowed Chair in Teacher Quality


(EDRE)-Education Reform

Phone: 479-575-7024

Fax: (479) 575-3196

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Gema Zamarro (Ph.D. CEMFI & UNED, Madrid (Spain), 2006) is a Professor (Full) and 21st Century Endowed Chair in Teacher Quality at the Department of Education Reform at the University of Arkansas. Dr. Zamarro also directs Charassein: the Character Assessment Initiative, a research group for the study of measures and development of character skills. She is also adjunct Senior Economist at the USC Dornsife Center for Economic and Social Research (CESR). Prior to joining the University of Arkansas, Zamarro was a Senior Economist at CESR (2013-2014), an Economist at the RAND Corporation (2007-2013; Adjunct Economist 2013-2016) and Professor of Econometrics at the Pardee RAND Graduate School of Public Policy (2007-2013), as well as, assistant professor in the Department of Econometrics at Tilburg University in the Netherlands and a junior research fellow at NETSPAR (Network for Studies on Pensions, Aging and Retirement) (2005-2007). Dr. Zamarro has performed research on applied econometrics in the areas of education and labor economics. She has completed studies on heterogeneity in returns to education, on the relationship between teacher quality and student performance, on the effect of school closing policies on student outcomes, on the properties of value-added methods for estimating teacher quality, on the effect of dual-language immersion programs on student outcomes, and on the causal effect of retirement on health, among others. Her current education research focuses on the measurement and development of character skills and the study of the determinants of teacher turnover decisions. Dr. Zamarro’s work has been featured several times in the media including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, USA Today, Los Angeles Times, Huffington Post of Chicago, and the Oregorian.

Education Economics, Policy Evaluation, Labor Economics, Micro-econometrics

Econometrics Methods in Education Policy

Teacher Quality and Public Policy


Topics in Empirical Economics

Econometric Methods in Education Policy; Advanced Econometric Methods in Education Policy; Seminar in Teacher Quality and Public Policy

Ph.D. in Economics. CEMFI (Central Bank of Spain foundation) & UNED (Madrid, Spain)

M.S. in Economics and Finance. CEMFI (Madrid, Spain)

B.A. in Economics. Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (Madrid, Spain)

  • When Students Don't Care: Reexamining International Differences in Achievement and Student Effort, in collaboration with Collin Hitt and Ildefonso Mendez, Journal of Human Capital, forthcoming.
  • Identifying Naturally Occurring Direct Assessments of Socio-emotional Competencies: The Promise and Limitations of Survey and Assessment Disengagement Metadata, in collaboration with Jim Soland, Albert Cheng and Collin Hitt, Educational Researcher, forthcoming.
  • Understanding a Vicious Cycle: The Relationship Between Student Discipline and Student Academic Outcomes, in collaboration with Kaitlin P. Anderson and Gary W. Ritter, Educational Researcher, 48(5), 2019.
  • Alternative Measures of Noncognitive Skills and Their Effect on Retirement Preparation and Financial Capability. Journal of Pension Economics and Finance, published online February 2019.
  • Dual-Language Education at Scale: An Analysis of Program Costs, Mechanisms and Moderators, in collaboration with Jennifer L. Steele, Robert O. Slater, Trey Miller, Jennifer Li, and Michael Bacon, Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 2018, 40(3), 420-445.
  • Comparing and Validating Measures of Non-Cognitive Traits: Performance Task Measures and Self-Reports From a Nationally Representative Internet Panel, in collaboration with Albert Cheng, M. Danish Shakeel and Collin Hitt. Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics, 72, 2018, 51-60.
  • Personality as a Predictor of Unit Nonresponse in Panel Data: An Analysis of an Internet-Based Survey, in collaboration with Albert Cheng and Bart Orriens. Sociological Methods and Research, 2018, 1-27.
  • The Intergenerational Transmission of Non-Cognitive Skills and Their Effect on Adult Education and Employment Outcomes, in collaboration with Ildefonso Mendez. Journal of Population Economics, 31(2), 2018, 521-560.
  • Cross-Country Heterogeneity in Students’ Reporting Behavior: The Use of the Anchoring Vignette Method, in collaboration with Hana Vonkova and Collin Hitt. Journal of Educational Measurement, 55(1), 2018, 3-31.
  • The Methodological Challenges of Measuring Student Learning, Degree Attainment, and Early Labor Market Outcomes in Higher Education, in collaboration with Tatiana Melguizo, Fabio J. Sanchez and Tatiana Velasco. Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness, 2(1), 2017, 424-448.
  • Effects of Dual-Language Immersion on Students’ Academic Performance, in collaboration with Jennifer L. Steele, Robert O. Slater, Trey Miller, Jennifer Li, Susan Burkhauser, and Michael Bacon, American Educational Research Journal, 54 (1S), 2017, 82S–306S.

2013-2014     USC Dornsife Center for Economic and Social Research

                          University of Southern California

                     Senior Economist

2013-2014     USC Rossier School of Education

                          University of Southern California

                     Adjunct Assistant Professor, Courtesy Appointment

2013 –2016    RAND Corporation

                        Adjunct Economist, Santa Monica office.

2011 – 2013       RAND Corporation

                        Economist, Santa Monica office.

2011 – 2013       Pardee RAND Graduate School of Public Policy

                       Professor of Economics

2007 – 2011      RAND Corporation

                      Associate Economist, Santa Monica office.

2005 – 2007      University of Tilburg, Department of Econometrics and O. R

                       Assistant Professor

2005 – 2007     Netspar and CentER

                      Junior Research Fellow

Mentoring and Advising Award, University of Arkansas College of Education and Health Professions, 2019.

Extraordinary Women Recognition in the Service Category, Chancellor’s Commission on Women, University of Arkansas, 2019.

Significant Research Award, University of Arkansas College of Education and Health Professions, 2016.

American Educational Research Association and Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis Outstanding Reviewer for 2015.

Ph.D. in Economics cum laude (2006).

Visiting Student at The University of Chicago, The Division of the social Sciences, Department of Economics, under the supervision of Professor James J. Heckman. January-May 2004.

Prize to the Best Student obtaining the degree in Economics at "Universidad Carlos III de Madrid" in the year 2000 (first rank among all students graduating in 2000)