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Fein, Ph.D.

Principal Associate, Social & Economic Policy

David Fein has led a series of technically demanding random assignment evaluations of interventions promoting self-sufficiency within low-income populations. Trained as a demographer, he brings a strong multidisciplinary orientation to his work. Fein has been with Abt for more than 25 years.
Fein’s recent work has focused on developing career pathways as an integrative framework for designing and evaluating promising education, workforce and human service approaches. Other areas of substantive expertise include research on relationship processes and interventions and earlier human capital, employment, and family support approaches and research. Fein’s technical expertise spans qualitative and quantitative methods, with a focus on improved measurement of educational progress, psycho-social skills, couple interaction and census undercount.
Fein serves as co-principal investigator on a major Administration for Children and Families-funded national random assignment study of promising career pathways approaches — Pathways to Advancing Careers and Education (PACE) and its successor, Career Pathways Intermediate Outcomes (CPIO). Fein also is directing two studies of the Year Up organization’s next-generation career programs for young adults: a four-year Department of Education “Development and Innovation” grant and a five-year evaluation of the Professional Training Corps in Philadelphia.
Fein has served as a reviewer for the journals Demography, Evaluation and Program Planning, Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, Journal of Human Resources, Social Services Review, Population Research and Policy Review. Recent professional activity includes participation in ACF’s Technical Working Group for Welfare and Family Self-Sufficiency and as part of a workforce project sponsored by the Atlantic Council and University of Maryland.


  • Evaluation design and execution
  • Measurement, data collection and analysis methods
  • Workforce development and post-secondary education
  • Marriage and family formation
  • Welfare and family support

Key Projects

  • Pathways to Careers and Education & Career Pathways Intermediate Outcomes, Administration for Children and Families, Departments of Health and Human Services
  • Development of Next-Generation Programs Building on the Year Up Model, Institute for Education Sciences, Department of Education
  • Evaluation of Year Up’s Professional Training Corps, SIF, via Greenlight Fund and Year Up
  • Supporting Innovative Strategies, Open Society Foundations

Selected Publications

  • Fein, D. (2014). “The Struggle for Coherence in Emerging U.S. Career Pathways Initiatives,” Working Paper, Atlantic Council, Washington, D.C. (Presented at June 19, 2013 Executive Office of the President briefing on workforce development issues.) 
  • Fein, D. (2012).“Career Pathways as a Framework for Program Design and Evaluation: A Working Paper from the Innovative Strategies for Self-Sufficiency (ISIS) Project,” OPRE Report #2012-30, Washington, DC: Office for Planning, Research and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 
  • Hsueh, J., Alderson, D.P., Lundquist, E., Michalopolous, C., Gubits, D., Fein, D.J. & Knox, V. (2012). “The Supporting Healthy Marriage Evaluation: Early Impacts on Low-Income Families,” OPRE Report No. 2012-11, Office for Planning, Research, and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
  • Knox, V. & Fein, D.J. (2009).“Supporting Healthy Marriage: Designing a Marriage Education Demonstration and Evaluation for Low-Income Married Couples in Peters, H.E. & Kamp Dush, C.M,” (Eds) Marriage and Family: Perspectives and Complexities. NY: Cambridge University Press.
  • Fein, D. & Beecroft, E. (2006).“College as a Job Advancement Strategy: Final Report on the New Visions Self-Sufficiency and Lifelong Learning Project,” Bethesda, MD: Abt Associates Inc. 
  • Fein, D. (2004).“Married and Poor: Basic Characteristics of Economically Disadvantaged Married Couples in the U.S.” Working Paper SHM-01, Supporting Healthy Marriage Evaluation. NY: MDRC. 
  • Fein, D.J. & Lee W. S. (2003).“Impacts of Welfare Reform on Child Maltreatment in Delaware,” Children and Youth Services Review 25(1-2), 83-111. 
  • Fein, D.J. (1990).“Racial and Ethnic Differences in U.S. Census Omission Rates,” Demography, 27(2), 285-302. 


David Fein