Headshot of Hannah Shaffer

Hannah Shaffer

Harry A. Bigelow Teaching Fellow, Lecturer in Law

Hannah Shaffer’s current research focuses on the impacts of prosecutorial discretion on incarceration and race disparities in state courts. She is particularly interested in the extent to which prosecutor charging decisions account for potential police bias at the time of arrest.

Hannah is currently partnering with the Conference of District Attorneys in North Carolina to administer a survey to the state’s Assistant District Attorneys. The summer after her 1L year, she worked in the Major Felony Unit of the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office.

Hannah holds a JD from Harvard Law School, a PhD in economics from Harvard University, and a BA in political theory and economics from Washington University in St. Louis.


Harvard Law School

JD, 2021

Harvard University

Candidate for PhD in Economics, August 2021 (Expected)

Washington University in St. Louis

BA, summa cum laude, Political Theory & Economics, 2012

  • Phi Beta Kappa (2012)
  • Arnold Lien Scholar (four-year, half-tuition merit scholarship)
  • Ethan Shepley Award (awarded to 12 graduating seniors for leadership, scholarship, and service)
  • National Merit Finalist (2008)


The University of Chicago Law School

Harry A. Bigelow Teaching Fellow and Lecturer in Law (August 2021-present)

Suffolk District Attorney’s Office

Intern, Major Felony Unit (Summer, 2018)

Federal Reserve Bank of Boston

Full-time Research Assistant (Summer, 2012 – Summer, 2014).

College Hill Consulting Firm

Intern, Public Policy Group (Spring, 2011, London, England)

  • Elected District Attorney Conference – Presenter (Oct. 16, 2019, Concord, NC).
  • Quarterly Journal of Economics – Peer Reviewer
  • Third Summer School on Socioeconomic Inequality – Participant (2015, University of Chicago).
  • Discerning Discretion: Estimating Prosecutor Effects at Criminal Sentencing (with Emma Harrington)
  • Prosecutor Responses to Police Discretion and Mandatory Sentencing Laws: Impacts on Racial Disparities (with Emma Harrington)
  • Biased Beliefs about the Predictors of Criminal Re-offense (with Emma Harrington, William Murdock, and Natalia Emmanuel)
  • Determinants of Racial Disparities in Prosecutors’ Charging Decisions (with Emma Harrington, William Murdock, and Natalia Emmanuel)

Awards and Honors

  • John M. Olin Center for Law, Economics, and Business – Fellow (2019 - 2021, Harvard Law School)
  • Multidisciplinary Program in Inequality & Social Policy – Fellow (2017 - 2021, Harvard Kennedy School).
  • Donald M. Ephraim Prize in Law and Economics (July 2020, University of Chicago Law School). Awarded for Discerning Discretion: Estimating Prosecutor Effects at Criminal Sentencing
  • John M. Olin Writing Prize in Law and Economics (May 2020, Harvard Law School).