Pardee RAND Dissertations

p201210_01, students, prgs

All Pardee RAND students complete a policy-relevant dissertation aimed at tackling the most pressing policy issues facing the world. Many Pardee RAND dissertations are partially- or fully-funded through endowed dissertation awards and other prizes.

Dissertations by Date


  • Zeroing In: A Capabilities-based Alternative to Precision Guided Munitions Planning November 9, 2005

    Sam Loeb

    Uses the methodologies of exploratory modeling and robust planning to create a capabilities-based framework for the analysis of purchasing decisions for precision guided munitions. Combining both methodologies makes it possible to create improved and flexible munitions portfolios that perform well across a variety of possible futures while operating within an economic framework.

  • The Costs of Aging Aircraft: Insights from Commercial Aviation November 7, 2005

    Matthew C. Dixon

    Aging aircraft are a primary concern to the Air Force. Understanding the impact of aircraft age on maintenance costs is critical to “repair versus replace” decisions. This dissertation uses annual commercial aircraft fleet data, combined with age information from the Boeing Company, to provide a unique view of the cost to maintain commercial fleets.

  • Achievement Effects of Five Comprehensive School Reform Designs Implemented in Los Angeles Unified School District October 24, 2005

    Bryce Mason

    Estimates achievement effects as measured by the Stanford Achievement Test 9 for students in grades 1–11 who participated in comprehensive school reform in the Los Angeles Unified School District between 1999 and 2002. The author found no consistent evidence that earlier intervention caused larger gains, but there was strong evidence that longer participation caused larger effects.

  • The Effect of Cost-Sharing on the Utilization of Prescription Drugs for Chronically Ill Patients October 24, 2005

    Matthew D. Solomon

    Explores the effect of cost-sharing on the initiation of and adherence to prescription drug therapy for hypertension. Results suggest that a significant portion of the reduction in prescription drug utilization that is mediated by cost may occur when patients make the initial decision to pharmacologically treat a newly diagnosed chronic condition but that cost-sharing may be less influential on utilization once patients have initiated therapy.

  • Astronomical Odds: A Policy Framework for the Cosmic Impact Hazard September 12, 2005

    Geoffrey Sommer

    Addresses the cosmic impact hazard (the threat to the Earth posed by asteroids and comets) as an extreme example of a low-probability, high-consequence policy problem and presents a comprehensive framework for dealing with the technical and societal uncertainties surrounding the impact hazard. The author assesses the robustness of a proposed policy intervention: social reassurance by means of a demonstrated mitigation capability.

  • Recalibrating Alliance Contributions: Changing Policy Environment and Military Alliances June 30, 2005

    Tatsuro Yoda

    Develops an analytic framework for exploring ways to encourage contributions from U.S. allies, with specific reference to Japan’s Host Nation Support program (HNS) for the U.S. Forces in Japan. The author examines the history of the U.S.-Japan alliance and the future of the alliance, looking particularly at the next Special Measures Agreement for the HNS in 2006.

  • The Impact of the Information Revolution on Policymakers’ Use of Intelligence Analysis June 3, 2005

    Lorne Teitelbaum

    Compares how policymakers’ use of intelligence to support the policymaking process has changed. The intelligence community’s Intelink nework, the Internet, and web-based sources of analysis have not become major contributors to the policymaking process. Policymakers still find intelligence analysis useful for supporting the policymaking process, especially when it is conveyed through a one-on-one intelligence briefing.

  • Financing Terror: An Analysis and Simulation to Affect Al Qaeda's Financial Infrastructures June 2, 2005

    Steve Kiser

    Develops a model that enables policymakers and analysts to understand how terrorist financial networks work, how current policies targeting those networks will affect them, and how terrorist organizations are likely to react to those policies. The author makes a series of recommendations and suggests areas for further information use or collection.

  • Swarming and the Future of Warfare May 16, 2005

    Sean J. A. Edwards

    Swarming occurs when several military units conduct a convergent attack on a target from multiple axes. The author derives a simple theory that explains the phenomenology of swarming. He considers command and control, communications, home field advantage, surprise, fratricide, and training and identifies the primary variables most important to successful swarming.

  • Effective Capital Provision within Government: Methodologies for Right-Sizing Base Infrastructure May 4, 2005

    Joshua Weed

    Proposes a new, more efficient way to address how much capital infrastructure the U.S. Air Force should own rather than lease through other providers. The author develops an inventory simulation model that determines the least-cost inventory (capacity) and allows decisionmakers to evaluate “what-if” policy scenarios that affect lodging.

  • Policy Options for Interventions in Failing Schools March 23, 2005

    Connor Spreng

    Discusses the theory underlying various responses to the problem of failing schools, including parental choice and government interventions. Examines New Zealand’s experience with failing schools and intervention strategies in underperforming schools in California; applies the results of the research to education reform in the Emirate of Qatar.


  • Venture Capital Investments in China January 1, 2004

    Feng Zeng

    Venture capital investments in China have been growing fast in the past decade. International venture capitalists dominate China's venture capital industry because of the restrictions on raising funds within China. This dissertation examines the history of venture capital investment in China in the 1990s by means of two unique data sets collected by the author. It finds that Chinese government policies have had an important influence on the pattern of venture capital investments.

  • The Ecological Context of Substance Abuse Treatment Outcomes? Implications for NIMBY Disputes and Client Placement Decisions January 1, 2004

    Jerry O. Jacobson

    Examines the effects of location-the physical, social, and economic attributes of neighborhoods where drug treatment clients live and receive treatment-on program retention and finds that clients' residential environments are significantly worse than those of the non-client household population. A policy that matched all clients with the most appropriate neighborhood could increase the L. A. county rate of retention by up to 30 percent.

  • Gearing Up and Getting There: Improving Local Response to Chemical Terrorism January 1, 2004

    Brian Houghton

    Identifies policies and organizational options at the local level that could save lives and reduce injuries from an act of chemical terrorism, using Los Angeles as a case study. Presents low-cost options in equipment, training, organization and doctrine that could improve the response to a chemical terrorist event, and examines these options in terms of budget considerations in Los Angeles

  • Effects of Trial Design on Participation and Costs in Clinical Trials With an Examination of Cost Analysis Methods and Data Sources January 1, 2004

    Meredith L. Kilgore

    Explores the problem of representativeness in medical trial design by investigating the causes of the underrepresentation of older adults in clinical cancer trials. The author compares sources of data and modeling approaches for estimating treatment costs in health services research and estimates the impact of clinical trial participation on prescription drug costs.

  • Estimating the Effects of Pharmaceutical Innovations on Patients' Employment Outcomes January 1, 2004

    Yuhua Bao

    Current approaches to evaluating the benefits of medical technologies often ignore employment-related benefits, thus undervaluing interventions that improve functioning and productivity for those of working age. The author developed a model showing that the observed incremental labor supply is a result of more effective treatment and of other factors, and conducted two empirical studies to estimate the effects of treatment on patients' employment.

  • An Investigation of the Factors Influencing Breastfeeding Patterns January 1, 2004

    Alison Jacknowitz

    Research indicates that both mothers and children benefit from breastfeeding. However, a large fraction of mothers do not breastfeed or breastfeed for a shorter period than recommended, and some groups of mothers are more likely to breastfeed than others. This dissertation seeks to understand these breastfeeding patterns by investigating demographic changes, welfare work requirements, and workplace characteristics.

  • The Impact of Changes in Kindergarten Entrance Age Policies on Children’s Academic Achievement and the Child Care Needs of Families January 1, 2004

    Ashlesha Datar

    A one-year delay in kindergarten entrance has a positive and significant effect on children’s test scores. The initial entrance-age effect is smaller among poor and disabled children, but delaying entrance has a sizable effect on their test score gains over time. Higher childcare prices and maternal wages lower the age at which parents desire to send their child to kindergarten.


  • Exploring Teachers' Informal Learning for Policy on Professional Development January 1, 2003

    Joel K. Shapiro

    Explores teachers informal learning experiences. It examines a group of inquiry science teachers, generating hypotheses about the nature of their informal learning experiences, the resultant learning, how those experiences affect their professional lives, and the implications for education policy. It also provides an example of how to operationalize informal learning measures within an evaluation of a particular professional development program.

  • Cashing Out Life Insurance: An Analysis of the Viatical Settlements Market January 1, 2003

    Neeraj Sood

    People near the end of their lives often do not have enough income or liquid assets to pay mounting bills. They are increasingly using viatical settlements, which allow policyholders to convert their previously nonliquid life insurance policies into cash at a discount to the policies' face value. Using a database of HIV+ patients, the author evaluates the effect of minimum price regulations on the viatical settlement market and examines consumers' decisions in that market.

  • The Rise of HMOs January 1, 2003

    Martin Markovich

    This study examines the periods 1973-1978 and 1988-1993 to determine factors associated with differential HMO enrollment growth across metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs). The research suggests that the factors associated with HMO enrollment growth on the MSA level changed in the 10 years between the two periods, as the industry shifted from growth to maturity to slow decline.

  • Improving Air Force Purchasing and Supply Management of Spare Parts January 1, 2003

    Robert Bickel

    Provides the Air Force with a methodology for evaluating various strategies to improve the procurement of spare parts and applies the methodology to F100 engine parts. Uses exploratory analysis techniques and system dynamic modeling to gain a better understanding of the effectiveness of various supplier management policies and shows that policy and organizational changes in the purchasing and supply management process can potentially improve effectiveness while maintaining or lowering costs.

  • Melanoma: A Decision Analysis to Estimate the Effectiveness and Cost-Effectiveness of Screening and an Analysis of the Relevant Epidemiology of the Disease January 1, 2003

    Frederick Coston Beddingfield

    Estimates the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of outpatient screening for melanoma using visual inspection of the skin by dermatologists in a self-selected, higher-than-average-risk population. Costs varied from $51,481 per year of life saved to $64,646 (if evaluating and treating non-melanoma skin cancers were included). The cost-effectiveness of many melanoma screening scenarios falls within the range of other currently funded cancer screening programs.

  • Drug and Alcohol Treatment Services Among Privately Insured Individuals in Managed Behavioral Health Care January 1, 2003

    Bradley D. Stein

    Uses existing data to help understand the effect of changes in the private insurance marketplace on substance abuse (SA) treatment services. Different approaches to managing SA benefits and different levels of patient cost-sharing both significantly affect the type and amount of SA treatment utilization. More-generous SA benefits are a potential approach to improving access to and quality of SA treatment, but low rates of treatment suggest that the impact of this approach may be limited.

  • The Potential of Claims Data to Support the Measurement of Health Care Quality January 1, 2003

    Jennifer Hicks

    Current information suggests that millions of Americans fail to receive adequate quality health care. The author examines whether the use of claims data for measuring health care quality is being fully realized and identifies electronic data that might increase the potential for quality measurement. The author found that quality measurement relying extensively on medical records is prohibitively high for most organizations and presents four options for quality measurement: (1) the status quo; (2) expanded use of claims data; (3) expanded use of medical records; and (4) expanded use of both claims data and medical records.