Laura M. Tach

Associate Professor of Sociology & Public Policy, Cornell University
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About Laura

Tach's research examines urban poverty and family life. Her mixed-methods research examines how neighborhoods and families reproduce inequality and how public policy affects these processes.

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In the News

Rachel Dunifon quoted on effects of parental addiction on children, "The Latest in Health: Battling Opioid Epidemic by Fighting Fake Meds, Treating Struggling Families" WRVO Public Media, April 22, 2018.
Kathryn Edin quoted on marriages breaking down, "Why Would-Be Parents Should Choose to Get Married" The Economist, November 25, 2017.
Laura M. Tach quoted by Alexia Fernández Campbell, "Neighborhoods Can Shape Success - Down to the Level of a City Block" The Atlantic, May 23, 2016.
"Big Moment for Working Parents," Laura M. Tach (with Senator Jamie Eldridge), Milford Daily News, May 19, 2015.
"When Taxes Aren’t a Drag," Kathryn Edin (with Laura M. Tach), New York Times, April 13, 2015.
Laura M. Tach quoted on recipients of Earned Income Tax Credit by H. Roger Segelken, "Study Reveals Why Working Poor Think They are 'Middle Class'" Phys.org, February 6, 2015.
Laura M. Tach's research on fathers’ involvement in family life discussed by Emily Alpert Reyes, "Survey Finds Dads Defy Stereotypes about Black Fatherhood," Los Angeles Times, December 20, 2013.
Laura M. Tach's research on absent fathers discussed by Erika Eichelberger, "Poverty Myths Busted," Mother Jones, March/April 2014.


"Robbing Peter to Pay Paul: Economic and Cultural Explanations for How Lower-Income Families Manage Debt?" (with Sara Sternberg Greene). Social Problems 61, no. 1 (2014): 1-21.
Uses qualitative data to show how low-income families manage their debts mainly through private coping strategies, which trap them in costly cycles of indebtedness and hinder future prospects for economic mobility.
"Tax Code Knowledge and Behavioral Responses among EITC Recipients: Policy Insights from Qualitative Data?" (with Sarah Halpern-Meekin). Journal of Policy Analysis and Management 33, no. 2 (2014): 413-439.
Uses qualitative data to uncover the reasons behind low-wage workers’ behavioral responses to the incentives and disincentives of the tax code.
"Parenting as a Package Deal: Relationships, Fertility, and Nonresident Father Involvement among Unmarried Parents" (with Ronald Mincy and Kathryn Edin). Demography 47, no. 1 (2010): 181-204.
Shows that nonresident fathers’ involvement with their children drops sharply after relationships between unmarried parents end, and involvement declines even more when parents enter into new romantic relationships and have children with new partners.
"More than Bricks and Mortar: Neighborhood Frames, Social Processes, and the Mixed-Income Redevelopment of a Public Housing Project" City & Community 8, no. 3 (2009): 273-303.
Examines how redeveloping a public housing project into a mixed-income development changed neighborhood social dynamics.