Remembering a Pioneer in Policy Research and Evaluation

Remembering a Pioneer in Policy Research and Evaluation

Sep 15, 2021

Rob Hollister, a former colleague and longtime friend of Mathematica, passed away this week. Rob played a pivotal role in the formation of the company and served as Mathematica’s director of research as well as a senior fellow during the 1970s. Hollister was a distinguished professor of economics at Swarthmore College for more than 40 years and balanced his time in academia with a successful career in public policy, as he continued to consult for Mathematica for many years.

A luminary in the field of policy research and evaluation, Hollister helped to pioneer the use of random assignment studies through his work with Mathematica on the New Jersey Negative Income Tax Experiment. The study, which has become a standard tool in applied economics, led to the design and conduct of similar studies around the country. Hollister also played a pivotal role in the Supported Work Demonstration and the Minority Female Single Parent Demonstration, two of Mathematica’s early signature studies.

“Rob left an indelible mark on Mathematica and the field of policy research,” said Paul Decker, president and CEO of Mathematica. “His impacts are seen in our profession’s enduring commitment to rigor and objectivity and in the remarkable contributions of so many of Rob’s students and colleagues. We all cherished Rob’s wisdom, guidance, and friendship, and we will miss him terribly.”

Read Rob’s reflections on his career here.