Kathryn Edin is a Distinguished Bloomberg Professor in the Department of Sociology, Zanvyl Krieger School of Arts and Sciences and Department of Population, Family, and Reproductive Health, Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University. She received her Ph.D. in sociology from Northwestern University in 1991 and also taught at Rutgers University, Northwestern University, the University of Pennsylvania, and, most recently, Harvard University as a Professor of Public Policy and Management at the Harvard Kennedy School and chair of their Multidisciplinary Program in Inequality and Social Policy. She is a Trustee of the Russell Sage Foundation and on the Department of Health and Human Services advisory committee for the poverty research centers at Michigan, Wisconsin, and Stanford. She is a founding member of the MacArthur Foundation-funded Network on Housing and Families with Young Children and a past member of the MacArthur Network on the Family and the Economy. In 2014 she became a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Political and Social Sciences.

Research Interests

Kathryn Edin studies poverty by deploying ethnographic observations, in-depth interviews, and mixed method approaches to the domains of welfare and low-wage work, family life, and neighborhood contexts. She has taken on key mysteries about the urban poor that weren?t been fully answered by quantitative work, including: How do single mothers possibly survive on welfare? Why don?t more go to work? Why do they end up as single mothers in the first place? Where are the fathers and why do they disengage from their children's lives? How have the lives of the single mothers changed as a result of welfare reform? Her work has convinced many in the poverty-research community that deep insight into the lives of the poor requires both surveys and systematic qualitative explorations. A primary contribution of her research, beyond its substantive and theoretical merit, is thus the linkage between surveys and qualitative components. Now considered mainstream, this method has been incorporated into many of the most important national poverty studies. She has authored five books with a sixth forthcoming and some 50 journal articles.

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Primary Section

Section 53: Social and Political Sciences