Lisa A. Gennetian

Pritzker Professor of Early Learning Policy Studies, Sanford School of Public Policy, and Faculty Fellow of the Center for Child and Family Policy

Dr. Gennetian is an applied economist whose research straddles a variety of areas concerning child poverty, from income security and stability to early care and education with a particular lens toward identifying the causal impacts of child poverty on children’s development.

She is a co-PI on the first multi-site, multi-year randomized control study of a monthly unconditional cash transfer to low income mothers of infants in the U.S. called Baby’s First Years. Her recent work bridges poverty scholarship with a behavioral economic framework. “The Persistence of Poverty in the Context of Economic Instability: A Behavioral Perspective,” describes such a framework for poverty programs and policy, co-authored with Dr. Eldar Shafir and her co-authored publication “Behavioral Economics and Developmental Science,” further advances the application of behavioral economic insights to the arena of children’s development.

Professor Gennetian has since launched the beELL initiative, applying insights from behavioral economics to design strategies to support parent and family engagement in, and enhance the impacts of, existing childhood interventions. Dr. Gennetian also has a body of research examining poverty among Hispanic children and families, serving as a PI on several grants and a co-PI directing work on poverty and economic self-sufficiency at the National Center for Research on Hispanic Families.

Research Interests:

  • Poverty and Inequality
  • Early Childhood
  • Economics
  • Public Policy
  • Program Evaluation


  • Ph.D. Cornell University - 1998
  • B.A. Wellesley College - 1990

Recent Publications (More Publications)

  • Gennetian, LA; Tamis-LeMonda, CS; Frank, MC (2020) Advancing Transparency and Openness in Child Development Research: Opportunities Child Development Perspectives, 14, 3-8, [doi], [abs]
  • Fuller, TR; Sciandra, M; Koumans, EH; Boulet, SL; Warner, L; Cox, S; Gennetian, LA (2019) A housing mobility program's impacts on teen and young adult parenting. Ssm Population Health, 9, 100451, [doi], [abs]
  • Gennetian, LA; Marti, M; Kennedy, JL; Kim, JH; Duch, H (2019) Supporting parent engagement in a school readiness program: Experimental evidence applying insights from behavioral economics Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 62, 1-10, [doi], [abs]
  • Hill, Z; Gennetian, LA; Mendez, J (2019) A descriptive profile of state Child Care and Development Fund policies in states with high populations of low-income Hispanic children Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 47, 111-123, [doi], [abs]
  • Gennetian, LA; Rodrigues, C; Hill, HD; Morris, PA (2019) Income Level and Volatility by Children's Race and Hispanic Ethnicity Journal of Marriage and the Family, 81, 204-229, [doi], [abs]