Austin Nichols

Abt Associates

Austin Nichols (PhD, Economics, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor) is a social science economics principal associate at Abt Associates who served as principal investigator of the Lessons from Social Security Administration (SSA) Demonstrations project. He is an expert methodologist with 20 years of experience in the evaluation of disability policy, labor market, and education issues. Dr. Nichols has conducted studies for U.S. federal agencies including the Department of Labor, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Veteran’s Affairs, and Education. He has also worked under contract for state and local governments, and many foundations. In addition to publishing influential papers about disability policy, health, and labor markets, and producing technical reports on related topics, Dr. Nichols has presented at numerous conferences, and served as a discussant on research on disability policy over the last 20 years. At Abt, he provides technical and methodological guidance for policy evaluations across numerous policy areas, and regularly serves as principal investigator, director of design and analysis, or project quality advisor on Abt research projects. Dr. Nichols’s expertise includes random assignment, quasi-experimental, and descriptive research design; evaluation technical assistance; survey design and testing; implementation analysis; statistical analysis of survey and administrative data; and dissemination of findings to academic and policy audiences. He was also the principal investigator for the Stay-at-Work/Return-to-Work project for the Department of Labor. Dr. Nichols co-authored the chapter “Improving the Use of Demonstrations” and presented it with Robert Weathers at the Lessons from SSA Demonstrations: A State of the Science Meeting. He also co-authored the chapter “An Introduction to Disability Policy and SSA’s Demonstrations” and co-edited the Lessons from SSA Demonstrations volume with Jeffrey Hemmeter and Debra Goetz Engler.

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