Helen F. Ladd is the Edgar Thompson Professor of Public Policy Studies and professor of economics at Duke University. Prior to 1986, she taught at Dartmouth College, Wellesley College, and at Harvard University, first in the City and Regional Planning Program and then in the Kennedy School of Government. She graduated with a BA degree from Wellesley College in 1967, received a master's degree from the London School of Economics in 1968, and earned her PhD in economics from Harvard University in 1974. Most of her current research focuses on education policy.
Most recently, she has co-edited The Handbook of Research in Education Finance and Policy (2008), and co-authored (with Edward Fiske) Elusive Equity: Education Reform in Post-Apartheid South Africa (Brookings Institution, 2004 and HSRC Press in paperback, 2005). She is also the editor of Holding Schools Accountable: Performance-Based Reform in Education (Brookings Institution, 1996) and the coauthor (with Edward Fiske) of When Schools Compete: A Cautionary Tale (Brookings Institution, 2000) which draws lessons for the US from New Zealand.