Robert D. Plotnick

Daniel J. Evans Professor of Public Affairs
Associate Dean for Academic Affairs
Ph.D., University of California at Berkeley
(206) 685-2055

Robert D. Plotnick is Professor of Public Affairs and Associate Dean of the Evans School. He joined the School in 1984, after previously serving on the faculties of Bates College (1975-77) and Dartmouth College (1977-84). Plotnick also holds appointments as Adjunct Professor in the University of Washington's Department of Economics and as a Research Affiliate with UW’s Center for Studies in Demography and Ecology and West Coast Poverty Center, and with the Institute for Research on Poverty at the University of Wisconsin. He directed the Center for Studies in Demography and Ecology from 1997-02 and was the founding director of UW’s Population Leadership Program.

Plotnick’s research addresses American poverty, income inequality, income support policy, and related social policy issues. His current research, in collaboration with Washington State’s Division of Child Support, is using field experiments to test the effectiveness of new approaches to collecting support payments.

He has authored or contributed to numerous publications, including Old Assumptions, New Realities: Ensuring Economic Security for Working Families in the 21st Century (Russell Sage Foundation, 2011), peer review journal articles in the fields of demography, economics, gerontology, political science, public policy, social work, and sociology, and two National Research Council reports. His research has received support from the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Russell Sage Foundation, and other sources.

Plotnick serves on the editorial board for the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, and as a reviewer for many other academic journals as well as academic presses and grant-making organizations. He is a member of the Washington State Academy of Sciences and a former vice-president of the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management. Plotnick has been a visiting scholar at the Russell Sage Foundation, Cornell University, the University of New South Wales and the London School of Economics.

Professor Plotnick holds a Ph.D. and MA in Economics from University of California, Berkeley, and BA in Mathematics from Princeton University.

Areas of specialization 

Anti-Poverty Policy
Benefit-Cost Analysis
Income and Social Inequality
Labor Economics
Social Demography
Social Welfare Policy

Professional service 

  • Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, Editorial Board Member
  • Washington State Academy of Sciences, Member

Courses taught 

  • PBAF 516: Economics for Policy Analysis and Management, 1
  • PBAF 576: Poverty and Anti-Poverty Policy
  • PPM 510:  Public Policy Analysis and Evaluation

Learn about Professor Plotnick's current research.