In her research, Mazelis focuses on two main areas: 1) poverty, homelessness, and housing, and 2) student loan debt and the transition to adulthood. Overarching themes in her writings include inequality, reciprocity, stigma, and the importance of social ties. She is the author of Surviving Poverty: Creating Sustainable Ties among the Poor (NYU Press, 2017) based on her research in Philadelphia. Mazelis is currently engaged in a collaborative, longitudinal, mixed-methods study of student loan debt, the transition to adulthood, and the intergenerational transmission of inequality; this study is funded by the National Science Foundation.
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Examines student's expectations about family formation and other effects of student loans after graduation.
Finds women college graduates with loans have fewer children compared to college graduates without loans, and are more likely to be unmarried when they have children.
Explores how low‐income mothers and fathers who recently have had a child avoid and access financial and other instrumental support from kin, and the statements they make about kin support.
Argues that organizations that serve the needs of poor people can help to create more sustainable supportive ties among them.
Examines the experiences of people living below the poverty level, looking at the tension between social isolation and social ties among the poor to explore how they survive and the benefits they gain by being connected to one another.
Discusses how the norms of reciprocity partially govern social support behavior, particularly in the context of an organization requiring participation in an exchange network. Examines how reciprocity fosters social capital for those who fulfill norms of reciprocity and hinder social capital for those who violate them.