Heather D. Hill

Ph.D. Program Director

Heather D. Hill is a Professor and Director of the PhD Program in Public Policy and Management at the Evans School. Her research examines how public and workplace policies influence family economic circumstances and child wellbeing in low-income families. She brings an inter-disciplinary lens to these topics, integrating theoretical and methodological insights from developmental psychology, economics, and sociology. Hill’s current research projects include:

The implications for children of growing inequality in income, wealth, and parental spending. In multiple projects alone and in collaboration, Hill is studying how income level and variability affect children, the consequences of wealth inequality for child development, and the differences in parental spending on children by income and race/ethnicity.

Evaluation of the Washington State Paid Family and Medical Leave program: Hill is leading a sub-contract with the Washington Employment Security Department, which administers PFML, to plan and conduct evaluation activities related to this new insurance program.  Funding for this project was provided by the Perigee Fund and Pivotal Ventures.

The effects of state Earned Income Tax Credits on multiple forms of violence: This project is led by Professor Ali Rowhani-Rahbar in Epidemiology at UW, and funded by the Centers for Disease Control: https://csde.washington.edu/news-events/ali-rowhani-rahbar-and-heather-hill-awarded-u01-to-investigate-eitc-and-violence-prevention/.

Hill received a Ph.D. in Human Development and Social Policy from Northwestern University in 2007. She also has an MPP from the University of Michigan and a BA in Political Science from the University of Washington. Hill spent three years as a research analyst at Mathematica Policy Research, Inc. in Washington, DC., and two years as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Ivory Coast.

Hill is a faculty affiliate of the West Coast Poverty Center and the Center for Studies in Demography and Ecology at the University of Washington and the Institute for Research on Poverty at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.  She also serves as a member of the Executive Council for the UW Population Health Initiative.

In her spare time, she reads, gardens, hikes, and eats oysters.

Hill, H.D. & Rowhani-Rahbar, A. (2022). Invited Commentary: Income Support as a Health Intervention. JAMA Network Open, 5(1).

Gibson-Davis, C. & Hill, H.D. (2021). Childhood Wealth Inequality in the United States: Implications for Social Stratification and Wellbeing. RSF: Russell Sage Foundation Journal of Social Sciences, 7(3), 1-27.

Hill, H.D. (2021). Family Income Level, Variability, and Trend as Predictors of Child Achievement and Behavior. Demography, Advance online publication July 1.

Morgan, E.R., Decou, C.R., Hill, H.D., Mooney, S.J., Rivara, F.R., & Rowhani-Rahbar, A. (2021).  State Earned Income Tax Credits and Suicidal Behavior: A Repeated Cross-Sectional Study. Preventive Medicine, 145, Advance online publication January 1.

Edmonds, A., Moe, C., Adhia, A., Mooney, S., Rivara, F., Hill, H.D., & Rowhani-Rahbar, A. (2021). Earned Income Tax Credits and Intimate Partner Violence. Journal of Interpersonal Violence. Advance online publication March 15.

Kovski, N., Hill, H.D., Mooney, S., Rivara, F. & Rowhani-Rahbar, A.  (2021). The Generosity of State Earned Income Tax Credits and Rates of Child Maltreatment Reports and Substantiations (2004-2016). Child Maltreatment. Advance online publication, January 19.



Appointed member, Executive Council, UW Population Health Initiative, 2019-

Elected member, APPAM Policy Council, 2019-2022

External Review Board Member, Social Service Review, 2015-2018.

Chair, Primary Research Area on the Wellbeing of Families and Households, Center for Studies in Demography and Ecology, UW, 2017-

Member, Executive Board, Center for Studies in Demography and Ecology, UW, 2017-


Elected member, Evans Faculty Council, 2018-2020

Member, Faculty advisory committee, UW Faculty 2050, 2018

Conwell, J., Hill, H.D., & Gellner, B. “Race-by-Income Disparities in Parental Spending on Child Care and Education.”

Kovski, N.L., Hill, H.D., Mooney, S.J., Rivara, F.P, Rowhani-Rahbar, A. “The Short-Term Effects of Tax Credits on State-Level Rates of Reported Child Maltreatment in the United States, 2015-2018”

Morgan, E.R., Hill, H.D., Mooney, S.J., Rivara, F.P., Rowhani-Rahbar, A. “Impact of State Earned Income Tax Credits on Maternal Depression and Alcohol Misuse: An Analysis of Two Datasets.”

Hill, H.D., Romich, J. & Frietag, C. “Making Sense of Effective Marginal Taxes: How Low-Income Working Families in Seattle Experience the Interaction between Earnings and Public Assistance.”

Bruns, A., Hill, H.D., & Kahn-Kravis, T. “Subjective Financial Well-Being among Low-Income Workers: Mixed Method Evidence from Seattle.”

Hill, H.D., & Wething, H.* “Will everything go up? Worker knowledge and interpretation of the Seattle Minimum Wage Ordinance.”

Hubert G. Locke Diversity Award (2018) – Daniel J. Evans School of Public Policy & Governance

Research & News Highlights

Centers and Initiatives