Scholar Spotlight: Anna Gassman-Pines and Liz Ananat

This week’s Scholar Spotlight highlights Anna Gassman-Pines and Liz Ananat, whose work on paid family leave in North Carolina led to a legislative briefing with 20 state legislators and and staffers last month. Since the meeting, Rep. Graig Meyer has introduced HB 696, a bill to set up a shared insurance pool to provide paid family leave for working North Carolinians. This legislative action is the culmination of months of work that these two members and their students have dedicated to the issue. Anna and Liz taught a practicum course on paid leave at Duke University last year, during which students developed policy proposals and data analyses of paid leave. Civic groups NC Child and Moms Rising provided consultation about the local policy context. Leveraging their students’ work, Anna and Liz published a report and an OpEd in the News and Observer on the topic. Congratulations on this achievement!

Scholar Spotlight

Duke University

Gassman-Pines is a community and developmental psychologist whose research focuses on family context factors that influence low-income children’s development. She has conducted research examining how low-wage work environments, community-wide job losses, and social policies affect poor families in the U.S. She was formerly a community representative to the Philadelphia Prekindergarten Head Start Parent Policy Council and has collaborated with state and local social services policymakers in North Carolina.

Ananat studies the intergenerational transmission of poverty and inequality in the United States, with a special focus on identifying the causes and consequences of economic disadvantage. Her research has examined such issues as the effect of divorce on mothers’ incomes, the effect of housing segregation on racial income disparities, the effect of maternal access to abortion and birth control on children’s circumstances, and the consequences of local economic downturns for youth outcomes. She teaches microeconomics for public policymaking and U.S. poverty policy. In 2010, she served as Senior Economist for Labor, Education, and Welfare at the White House Council of Economic Advisers.