Professor Eric A. Hanushek


Yidan Prize for Education Research




Promoting evidence-based decision-making in education policy



Judge's citation

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Professor Eric A. Hanushek

Paul and Jean Hanna Senior Fellow, Hoover Institution of Stanford University


Education economics; Education policy; Assessment and evaluation

Highlighting the ties between economics and education

Professor Eric A. Hanushek’s research has been central to strengthening the bridge between economics and education. Eric’s work shows that a country’s long-term economic growth almost entirely depends on how skilled the population is. 


For decades, Eric has worked directly with governments and policymakers to showcase how scientific evidence can be used to evaluate and improve education policies. In particular, he’s encouraged them to look at how they spend their money, rather than just the total amount spent.


He’s also developed a new ‘value-added’ model for measuring teacher effectiveness, based on tracking student’s learning gains. This has also prompted new approaches to how teachers are recruited and evaluated.


Perhaps his most important finding is that it’s how much students learn—not how many years they spend in school—that makes the biggest difference. Eric’s widely cited research on this topic has had a deep impact on global education policies, prompting countries to focus on the quality of education and learning outcomes.


Influenced by Eric’s work, the United Nations now refers to “effective learning outcomes” in the targets for meeting Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4: quality education. Eric believes education spurs growth, and both together lay the groundwork for the other 16 SDG Goals.

Like no one else, Eric has been able to link the fields of economics and education. From designing better and fairer systems for evaluating teacher performance to linking better learning outcomes to long-run economic and social progress, he has made an amazing range of education policy areas amenable to rigorous economic analysis.

Andreas Schleicher

Panel Head, Judging Panel for Education Research, Yidan Prize

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Supported by the Yidan Prize project funds
Promoting evidence-based decision-making in education policy

The program supports fellows in Africa to develop and advocate for quality research that is locally relevant, putting evidence at the heart of education policy in Africa.



More about Professor Eric A. Hanushek


2021 Yidan Prize for Education Research Laureate


Meet Professor Eric A. Hanushek


Acceptance Speech