Jane Waldfogel

Compton Foundation Centennial Professor for the Prevention of Children and Youth Problems, Columbia University School of Social Work
Visiting Professor, Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion, London School of Economics
Chapter Member: New York City SSN
Areas of Expertise:

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About Jane

Waldfogel’s work’s main focus is the impact of public policy on child and family well-being. She carries out research on a range of topics including the measurement of poverty, food insecurity, work-family policies, the effects of the Great Recession on parents and children, and inequality in school readiness and school achievement, both within the United States and across countries.

In the News

Research discussed by Claire Cain Miller, in "How Mark Zuckerberg’s Example Helps Fight Stigma of Family Leave," New York Times, December 2, 2015.
Guest on National Public Radio, September 16, 2015.
Guest on National Public Radio, June 19, 2015.
Quoted by Dionne Searcey, Eduardo Porter, and Robert Gebeloff in "Health Care Opens Stable Career Path, Taken Mainly by Women," New York Times, February 22, 2015.
Research discussed by Rob Garver, in "Economists Say Paul Ryan Misrepresented Their Research," The Fiscal Times, March 4, 2014.
Research discussed by Eduardo Porter, in "In the War on Poverty, a Dogged Adversary," New York Times, December 17, 2013.
Research discussed by Zachary A. Goldfarb, in "Study: U.S. Poverty Rate Decreased over Past Half-Century Thanks to Safety-Net Programs," Washington Post, December 9, 2013.


An Equal Start? Providing Quality Early Education and Care for Disadvantaged Children (edited with Ludovica Gambaro and Kitty Stewart) (University of Chicago Press, 2014).

Presents new evidence from a range of countries on how they address the challenge of ensuring that all children – including disadvantaged children – receive high quality early childhood education and care.

"The Great Recession and the Risk for Child Maltreatment" (with Jeanne Brooks-Gunn and William Schneider). Child Abuse and Neglect 37, no. 10 (2013): 721-729.

Analyzes the effects of the Great Recession and finds that declining consumer confidence was associated with increases in high frequency maternal spanking.

"State-Level Variation in the Cumulative Prevalence of Child Welfare System Contact, 2015–2019" (with Youngmin Yi, Frank Edwards, Jane Waldfogel, Christopher Wildeman, and Natalia Emanuel). Children and Youth Services Review 147 (2023).

Provides new estimates of spatial and racial/ethnic variation in children’s lifetime risks of child welfare system involvement, as well as relative risks of these events. Discusses In the U.S., state-level investigation risks ranged from 14% to 63%, confirmed maltreatment risks from 3% to 27%, foster care placement risks from 2% to 18%, and risks of parental rights termination from 0% to 8%, with great racial/ethnic variation in all of these.

"Paid Family Leave, Fathers' Leave-Taking, and Leave-Sharing in Dual-Earner Households," (with Christopher J. Ruhm, Ann Bartel, Maya Rossin-Slater, and Jenna Stearns ), National Bureau of Economic Research, November 2015.

Argues that fathers in California are 46 percent (relative to the pre-treatment mean) more likely to take leave in the first year of their children’s lives when that leave is available - but these effects are much larger for fathers of sons than for fathers of daughters, and almost entirely driven by fathers of first-born children and fathers in occupations with a high share of female workers.

"The Effects of California’s Paid Family Leave Program on Mothers’ Leave-Taking and Subsequent Labor Market Outcomes" (with Christopher J. Ruhm and Maya Rossin-Slater). Journal of Policy Analysis and Management 32, no. 2 (2013): 224-245.

Analyzes the effects of California’s paid family leave program and finds that it led to increased leave-taking, particularly among women who had the least access to leave previously.

"The Safety Net for Families with Children" in Legacies of the War on Poverty, edited by Martha J. Bailey and Sheldon Danziger (Russell Sage Foundation, 2013), 153-178.
Reviews research on the impact of the War on Poverty’s effort to strengthen the social safety net for low-income families, considering programs in three areas: food and nutrition; cash assistance; and income support.
"Inequality in Early Childhood Outcomes" (with Bruce Bradbury, Miles Corak, and Elizabeth Washbrook), in From Parents to Children: The Intergenerational Transmission of Advantage, edited by John Ermisch, Markus Jantti, and Timothy Smeeding (Russell Sage Foundation, 2012), 87-119.
Provides a comparative analysis of inequality in school readiness across four countries – Australia, Canada, United Kingdom, and United States.
"Britain’s War on Poverty" (Russell Sage Foundation, 2010).
Evaluates Britain’s anti-poverty strategy – which significantly increased single-parent employment, raised incomes for low-income families, and improved child outcomes – focusing on how the British government accomplished this and what the United States can learn from the British experience.