Carolyn Y. Barnes

Assistant Professor, Sanford School of Public Policy, and Faculty Fellow of the Center for Child and Family Policy

Carolyn Barnes is an assistant professor in the Sanford School of Public Policy and a faculty fellow with the Center for Child and Family Policy at Duke University. Barnes completed a Ph.D. in political science and public policy from the University of Michigan, where she worked as an affiliate of the National Poverty Center conducting research on the effects of nonprofit community-based service provision on parenting practices and the psycho-social well being of families and children. Her research agenda broadly explores the social and political implications of social policy on low-income populations in the areas of childcare policy, family services, and supports for young children.

Her current book project consists of an in-depth organizational ethnography that examines how publicly funded nonprofit social services shape the political behavior of the economically disadvantaged. With special attention to the role of broad neighborhood, policy, and political contexts, Barnes has initiated a new line of research that takes an interdisciplinary approach to assess the health implications of federal and state supports for women and children.


  • Ph.D. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor - 2014
  • B.A. Virginia Polytech Institute and State University - 2008

Recent Publications (More Publications)

  • Goss, KA; Barnes, C; Rose, D (2019) Bringing Organizations Back In: Multilevel Feedback Effects on Individual Civic Inclusion
  • Barnes, C; Nolan, S (2019) Professionals, friends, and confidants: After-school staff as social support to low-income parents
  • Chauvenet, C; De Marco, M; Barnes, C; Ammerman, AS (2019) WIC Recipients in the Retail Environment: A Qualitative Study Assessing Customer Experience and Satisfaction
  • Barnes, CY; Henly, JR (2018) "They are underpaid and understaffed": How clients interpret encounters with street-level bureaucrats
  • Barnes, CY; Hope, EC (2017) Means-Tested Public Assistance Programs and Adolescent Political Socialization.