Laura Feeney is co-executive director of the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) North America based at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), a research centre which seeks to reduce poverty by ensuring that policy is informed by scientific evidence in the North America region. Alongside co-executive director, Vincent Quan, Laura guides the strategic direction of the centre’s research, operations and finance teams, and collaborates closely with researchers to improve the quality and efficiency of randomised evaluations and research implementation.
Prior to becoming co-executive director in 2021, Laura led J-PAL North America’s research and training teams. She previously worked with Innovations for Poverty Action on randomised evaluations relating to public health and migration and conducted public health research in Honduras with Shoulder to Shoulder. She has also served as an industry analyst at the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics.
A specialist in the design, implementation and analysis of randomised evaluations, Laura has worked across multiple sector areas including workforce development, homelessness and housing, social welfare and public health. Drawing on her extensive work in implementing research designs in real-world contexts, Laura spearheaded the publication of the J-PAL North America evaluation toolkit, in addition to a guide about acquiring and using administrative data for research. She oversaw the launch and management of critical research programmes, including the research management support programme, which have guided how the research community conducts randomised evaluations.
Laura took a degree in economics from the University of Florida and a master’s degree in economics from the University of British Columbia.