My primary research interest is in using complex data from survey and administrative sources to investigate how family structures impact economic wellbeing of individuals and households, particularly those at the intersections of multiple marginalized identities. I have two distinct strands of research that have stemmed from this interest. During my PhD, I studied economic wellbeing, employment, and time-use of divorced mothers before and after a divorce occurred, and how this changed with the amount of time their children spent at their home after divorce. In my postdoctoral research at the Institute for Research on Poverty, I am focusing on the economic wellbeing of low-income families, particularly the role of debt in the financial portfolio of such families, the extent to which low income debt differs from mainstream debt, and its interaction with public policy and family structures.
Creating and fielding primary survey instruments has been an integral part of both my doctoral and postdoctoral research. My dissertation work involved collaborating with IRP researchers to create and field a survey instrument that collected data on how shared physical custody arrangements work for the living arrangements, finances, and wellbeing of divorced families in Wisconsin in the long-term after a divorce occurs. I have subsequently led several projects that have used these data. A major part of my postdoctoral responsibilities include collaborating on creating a novel survey instrument which will collect data on debt held by low-income households in the greater Milwaukee region of Wisconsin.
I have used administrative data on earnings and program participation extensively in my work, both as primary data sources but mostly after linking them to data collected through primary surveys. Although my work is primarily quantitative, I have used qualitative data from large-scale surveys as well as interview transcripts in mixed methods study designs.
My work has been published in peer-reviewed journals, appeared on policy reports to State departments in Wisconsin, and featured in the media. I list the products from this work below.