Sarah Charnes

Post-Doctoral Fellow
National Poverty Fellows Program, Institute for Research on Poverty, University of Wisconsin (Madison)


Ph.D. Public Policy and Management, University of Washington, 2021
M.A. Applied Economics, Johns Hopkins University, 2009
B.S. Economics, Truman State University, 2006
Sarah Charnes successfully defended her dissertation in Public Policy and Management in December 2021, and will be engaged in postdoctoral work as a National Poverty Fellow (through the University of Wisconsin's Institute for Research on Poverty) during the 2022-23 academic year (in residence in the Division of Data and Improvement at the Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation, Administration for Children & Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, D.C.). Sarah served as a Lecturer/Instructor in the Evans School during the Winter and Spring Quarters of 2022.

Sarah began her Ph.D. studies in Public Policy and Management at the Daniel J. Evans School of Public Policy and Governance after working for seven years as a macroeconomist in the Office of Economic Policy (Office of Macroeconomic Analysis) at the U.S. Department of the Treasury in Washington, D.C., a position she took after interning there during the junior year of her undergraduate studies. Sarah gained invaluable managerial experience during her time at the Treasury Department, which included periodically serving as the Acting Director for the Office of Macroeconomic Analysis. While at the Treasury Department, she obtained a Master of Arts in Applied Economics from Johns Hopkins University, with a concentration in quantitative methods and a certificate in forecasting practice. Sarah earned a Bachelor of Science in Economics from Truman State University, and studied abroad at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

As a former civil servant, Sarah is deeply committed to the training of future public servants. While pursuing her doctorate, Sarah served as a teaching assistant for six Evans School MPA courses (economics and quantitative methods), a guest lecturer or presenter in several Evans School MPA and Executive MPA courses, and a facilitator for pedagogical training sessions held by the UW's Center for Teaching and Learning. She received the Evans School MPA students' award for outstanding teaching assistance for the 2017-2018 academic year. In 2019, Sarah was a predoctoral instructor for the second of two first-year core courses in quantitative methods (multiple regression and causal inference) in the Evans School's MPA program.

As a doctoral student, Sarah worked as a research assistant for several quantitative and qualitative projects, and received a certificate from the Institute for Qualitative and Multi-Method Research at Syracuse University (Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs) in 2016. Sarah's doctoral work focused upon the intersection of social policy and food policy in the United States. Her dissertation investigated issues pertaining to food and nutrition assistance programs (including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), household food insecurity, work requirements, and vulnerable subpopulations. Sarah's dissertation work was supported in part by a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Economic Research Service and a dissertation fellowship from the UW's West Coast Poverty Center.

Anti-Poverty Policy
Demography and Ecology
Quantitative Methods
Social Policy
Social Policy Implementation
Urban and Social Policy

Current as of April 16, 2022

Charnes, Sarah E. “Household Disability Status, Food Store Choice, and Food Insecurity in the United States.” Physiology & Behavior. February 2022.

Allard, Scott W. and Paisner, Sarah Charnes. “The Rise of Suburban Poverty.” Oxford University Press Handbooks Online. September 2016.

Krueger, Alan B. and Charnes, Sarah. “JOLTS as a Timely Source of Data by Establishment Size.” Monthly Labor Review. May 2011. (Winner of the Lawrence R. Klein Award from the Monthly Labor Review, 2011.)

Sarah taught two sections of PUBPOL 528 (Quantitative Analysis II) (Spring 2022) as a postdoctoral lecturer/instructor. She also taught a section of PUBPOL 527 (Quantitative Analysis I) during Winter 2022. As a doctoral student, Sarah taught one section of PUBPOL 528 (as a predoctoral instructor). She also served as a guest lecturer, presenter, and/or teaching assistant in several courses for Evans School MPA and EMPA students.
Graduate Fellow, Scholars Strategy Network, Washington Chapter, AY 2020-21

Chair, Association for Public Policy Analysis & Management (APPAM) Student Activities Committee, CY 2020

Member, Association for Public Policy Analysis & Management (APPAM) Student Activities Committee, CY 2019

Ph.D. Student Representative, Evans School Ph.D. Committee, AY 2016-17

(Current as of April 16, 2022)

Charnes, Sarah E. “The Impact of Application Streamlining on Participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.” (Job market paper)

Charnes, Sarah E. “The SNAP Benefit Payment Cycle and the Acquisition of Free Food.”

Charnes, Sarah E. “The Effect of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program’s Work Requirement on Household Food Insecurity.”

Charnes, Sarah E. “The Minimum Wage’s Impact on Household Food Insecurity.”

Research Funding:

Co-Investigator, "Exploring Household Food Outcomes Among the Elderly, the Disabled, and Residents of Suburban and Rural Communities." Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Economic Research Service. Provides access to restricted-use National Household Food Acquisition and Purchase Survey (FoodAPS). (With Scott W. Allard, Principal Investigator.) 2017-21.

West Coast Poverty Center (University of Washington) Dissertation Fellowship, Summer 2018. (National Poverty Research Center Dissertation Fellowship awarded by the Institute for Research on Poverty at the University of Wisconsin-Madison with funding from the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.)

Teaching Awards:

Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award, Academic Year 2017-18 (selected by Evans School MPA students)


Certificate of Completion, Institute for Qualitative and Multi-Method Research, Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University, June 2016

Lawrence R. Klein Award, Monthly Labor Review, 2011

Committee Chair

Jacob L. Vigdor

Professor of Public Policy & Governance
PAR 353
(206) 616-4436

Committee Members

Rachel Fyall

Rachel Fyall
Associate Professor
PAR 260E

Caroline Weber

weber headshot
Distinguished Scholar
Household Food Insecurity and Spatial Access to Food in the United States
The Impact of Application Streamlining on Participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program

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