B.S., M.S., Cornell University; Ph.D., Princeton University
Katharine Coman and A. Barton Hepburn Professor of Economics
Applies statistical methods to address social issues like abortion and teen childbearing and to evaluate policies designed to improve the well-being of disadvantaged youth.
My recent work on teen childbearing has explored why the teen birth rate is so high in the United States and why it has been falling (including the impact of MTV’s 16 and Pregnant). I have also explored the impact the introduction of Sesame Street in 1969 on children’s outcomes at older ages. Other work has focused on the impact of high inequality in the U.S. on later life outcomes for disadvantaged youth. Along with many publications in academic journals and edited volumes, I am the author of Sex and Consequences: Abortion, Public Policy, and the Economics of Fertility, co-editor of Targeting Investments in Children: Fighting Poverty When Resources are Limited, and co-author of Reconsidering Retirement: How Losses and Layoffs Affect Older Workers. I also created and helped develop My InTuition, Wellesley College’s simplified financial aid calculator, which I have also extended to be used at other schools.
The focus of my research spills over into my teaching activities. I emphasize statistical and econometric methods in my own work and bring these interests to the classroom. I am a core member of the group of faculty in the Economics Department who teach the courses Introduction to Probability and Statistics and Econometric Methods. A key component of these classes is applying statistical analysis to real-world problems. My upper-level course, Economic Analysis of Social Policy, even more specifically targets my research interests.