About the Heinz Dissertation Committee

The 2019 Heinz Dissertation Award Committee

  • Courtney Coile, Chair, Associate, Professor of Economics, Wellesley College
  • Jason Barabas, Professor of Political Science, Stony Brook University
  • Ezra Golberstein, Associate Professor, University of Minnesota School of Public Health
  • Jeffrey Wenger, Researcher, RAND Corporation and Faculty Fellow at the School of Public Affairs, American University


Courtney C. Coile is a Professor of Economics and the Director of the Knapp Social Science Center at Wellesley College.  She is a Research Associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research, where she is also Associate Director of the Retirement Research Center and Co-Director of the International Social Security Working Group.  Coile recently served on a National Academy of Sciences panel on the long-run economic implications of an aging U.S. population.  She is an editor of The Journal of Pension Economics and Finance and of the NBER’s Bulletin on Aging and Health.  Professor Coile's research centers on issues in the economics of aging and health, particularly the economic determinants of retirement decisions. She is the co-author of Reconsidering Retirement: How Losses and Layoffs Affect Older Workers and a frequent contributor to the Social Security and Retirement Around the World series.   Some of her current work explores how the Veterans Affairs’ Disability Compensation program affects veterans’ employment.  Dr. Coile earned her Ph.D. in Economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and her A.B. in Economics from Harvard University. 

Jason Barabas is a Professor of Political Science at Stony Brook University. Prior to his arrival at Stony Brook University, Barabas was a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Scholar at Harvard University from 2004 to 2006. He has also held faculty appointments at Florida State University and Southern Illinois University in addition to serving as a postdoctoral fellow at Princeton University's Center for the Study of Democratic Politics. Barabas is the author of several articles on public opinion, deliberation and Social Security. His research has been been published in the American Journal of Political Science, the American Political Science Review, the Journal of Politics, and Public Opinion Quarterly among other journals. Barabas was the co-winner of the National Academy of Social Insurance’s Heinz Dissertation Award in 2001 for his work, "Americans Discuss Social Security: How Deliberation Affects Public Opinion." A member of the National Academy of Social Insurance for more than ten years, Barabas received his Ph.D. in Political Science from Northwestern University in 2000.

Ezra Golberstein is an Assistant Professor in the Division of Health Policy and Management at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health. He is a health policy researcher and health economist. He completed his doctorate at the University of Michigan and a postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Health Care Policy at Harvard Medical School. His research focuses on health care for vulnerable populations, with a current focus on mental health services. In his recent work he has examined the long-term effects of exposure to Medicaid in early childhood, the effects of Medicaid eligibility expansions on mental health services, and the effects of the Affordable Care Act on mental health services and out-of-pocket spending. He also publishes on the relationships between health and human capital, on spending growth in Medicare, and on long-term care. He has been a member of the National Academy of Social Insurance since 2015.

Jeffrey Wenger is currently a Senior Policy Researcher at RAND Corporation and a Faculty Fellow at the School of Public Affairs at American University. He was formerly Associate Professor of Public Policy at the University of Georgia's School of Public & International Affairs, Department of Public Administration and Policy. From 2000 to 2003 he worked as a research economist for the Economic Policy Institute. His research focuses on the administration and financing of unemployment insurance benefits, the role of SNAP benefits on food expenditures, the role of health insurance in labor market decisions of married couples. Recent work has been published in the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, Industrial Relations, the American Journal of Economics and Sociology and the Journal of Pension Economics and Finance. He is the co-author of Health Insurance Coverage in Retirement. A member of the National Academy of Social Insurance since 2006, Wenger received his Ph.D. in public policy analysis from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.