Paula R. Worthington

Senior Lecturer and Academic Director, Harris Policy Labs at the Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago.


Paula R. Worthington is a Senior Lecturer at the Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago, where she is affiliated with the Center for Municipal Finance and serves as academic director of the School’s Policy Labs program and faculty lead on its MPP program. At Harris, Worthington teaches courses in state and local government and cost-benefit analysis and advises students completing applied projects for public and nonprofit sector clients. She is consistently recognized for excellence in teaching, having received nine teaching awards since joining Harris in 2004.

While on leave from Harris in 2017-2018, Worthington served as senior economist at the Council of Economic Advisers in Washington, D.C., where she prepared research, policy analysis, and written materials in multiple policy domains to help fulfill the Council’s objective of providing high quality, objective economic analysis to the Executive Office of the President.

Worthington’s interests are in state and municipal fiscal policies, and she is actively involved with efforts related to good governance and responsible financial policies at Harris’s Center for Municipal Finance and local civic organizations. She currently serves as co-chair of the Transportation Committee at the Metropolitan Planning Council and a member of Cook County’s Independent Revenue Forecasting Commission, and she is a former member of the state of Illinois’s Budgeting for Results Commission.

Worthington received her PhD in economics from Northwestern University in 1988. She has served as an economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and as a research officer, economic advisor, and senior research economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago and has published articles in academic journals and Federal Reserve publications. Immediately prior to joining the Harris School, Worthington taught as a lecturer in the economics department at Northwestern University.