David B. Muhlhausen, a leading expert on evaluating the effectiveness of federal social programs, is a veteran analyst in The Heritage Foundation’s Center for Data Analysis.
A research fellow in empirical policy analysis, Muhlhausen has testified frequently before Congress on the efficiency and effectiveness of federal programs, including before the Senate Committee on the Budget and the House Committee on Ways and Means.
He is the author of the book “Do Federal Social Programs Work?” (Praeger, 2013). In it, he reviews scientifically rigorous national studies that almost unanimously find that federal programs, including Head Start and numerous job-training programs, fail to solve social problems.
Muhlhausen rose to national prominence in 2001 with publication of his analysis showing the highly touted Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program to be a waste of taxpayer dollars. His research illustrated that COPS neither had put 100,000 new police officers on the street nor reduced violent crime.
His work prompted Vice President Joe Biden, at the time a U.S. senator from Delaware and chairman of the Subcommittee on Crime and Drugs, to call a hearing specifically to investigate Muhlhausen’s findings. “I want to have a hearing on what has been, from The Heritage Foundation and other places, criticism that the COPS program does not work,” Biden said in opening the hearing.
Muhlhausen’s commentary and analysis have appeared in publications such as the The Washington Post, The Washington Times, Forbes, USA Today, National Journal, and The Hill, and National Affairs Television news outlets such as CNN, Fox News Channel, MSNBC, and PBS have featured his analysis of pressing issues.
Muhlhausen joined Heritage in 1999 after serving on the staff for the Senate Judiciary Committee, where he specialized in crime and juvenile justice policies. He previously was a manager at a juvenile correctional facility in Baltimore.
He holds a doctorate in public policy from the University of Maryland-Baltimore County and a bachelor’s degree in political science and justice studies from Frostburg State University.
In addition to his work at Heritage, Muhlhausen is an adjunct professor at George Mason University, teaching program evaluation and statistical methods to graduate students.
A native of Colorado, Muhlhausen grew up in Maryland. He currently resides in Falls Church, Va.