Skip to main content
You are here

UC Davis Experts on Poverty

By Karen Nikos-Rose on September 12, 2017 in Society, Arts & Culture

University of California, Davis, sources are available for comment on a variety of aspects related to poverty and its effects. This list was updated in 2020.

Safety net programs

Marianne Bitler is a professor of economics. Her research measures the impact of various government safety net programs, including TANF, SNAP, WIC and the ACA. She is chair of the Panel on Improving Consumer Data for Food and Nutrition Policy Research Service for the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, which released a report, "A Consumer Food Data System for 2030 and Beyond," in March 2020. She is a research associate with the National Bureau of Economic Research, and she is currently serving on the Institute of Medicine's Panel to Review the WIC Package. She co-authored a major study for the Brookings Institution’s Hamilton Project about how well TANF responded for families in poverty during the Great Recession. Contact: Marianne Bitler, Center for Poverty & Inequaity Research,

Immigration and poverty

Kevin R. Johnson is the dean of the UC Davis School of Law and professor of Chicana/o Studies. He can speak about immigration, race and class, and public benefits. Johnson’s book, Immigration Law and the US-Mexico Border), received the Latino Literacy Now’s International Latino Book Awards – Best Reference Book.  Dean Johnson blogs at ImmigrationProf ( and is a regular contributor on immigration on SCOTUSblog ( Contact: Kevin Johnson, School of Law,

Giovanni Peri is professor and chair of the Department of Economics. He can discuss immigration policies, immigration’s impact on the economy, labor markets, income distribution and the movement of workers both internally and across international borders. He is the director of the Migration Cluster, an interdisciplinary group studying how international movements of people are driven by economic, demographic, political, historical and social causes and how they reshape the economies and societies of countries in which they settle. Contact: Giovanni Peri, Economics,

Erin Hamilton is associate professor of sociology.  Her current research investigates the social and demographic sources of international migration from Mexico to the United States. She authored a policy brief for the Center for Poverty & Inequality Research on the role of state health insurance policies in insuring immigrant children. Contact: Erin Hamilton, Department of Sociology,

Jacob Hibel is associate professor of sociology. His research focuses on the causes and consequences of childhood educational inequalities, including those related to poverty, disability, race/ethnicity, immigrant generation status, and spatial segregation. He wrote a policy brief for the Center for Poverty & Inequality Research that explores the impact of California’s Continuum of Care Reform Act.  Contact: Jacob Hibel, Department of Sociology,

Education and poverty

Paco Martorell is an assistant professor of education. His research focuses on education policy and the value of education in the labor market. His current research explores whether potential employers prefer for-profit college or community college graduates, as well as the effects of automatic college admissions for the top 10 percent of high school graduates in Texas. He is also exploring new ways to place entering community college students into developmental courses to understand how to help them progress more quickly to higher-level coursework. Contact: Paco Martorell, UC Davis School of Education,

Marianne Page is a professor of economics and director of the Center for Poverty & Inequality Research. She was appointed in 2020 to Governor Newsom's Council on Economic Advisors. She specializes in inter-generational mobility and the impact social programs have on children. Recent projects include investigations of the relationship between parents’ education and children’s success in school, how class-size reduction policies affect students, and the impact the WIC program has on young children’s health. She wrote a policy brief for the Center for Poverty & Inequality Research that describes how smaller class size yields higher test scores among young children. Contact: Marianne Page, Center for Poverty Research,

Scott Carrell is a professor of economics at UC Davis. His research focuses on the effect of school inputs, peer effects and barriers to college. He is also a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research, a Research Fellow at the Institute for the Study of Labor, and a Co-Editor for the Journal of Human Resources. Contact: Scott Carrell, UC Davis Department of Economics,

Heather Rose is an associate professor in the School of Education at UC Davis. Her research relates to the effects of school finance systems, accountability programs, and governance structures on the distribution of school resources, student outcomes and achievement gaps. She also focuses on school financing systems and their impact on poor students. Contact: Heather Rose, UC Davis School of Education,

Child poverty

Paul Hastings is a professor of psychology. He studies child and adolescent development, parenting and family relationships, and biological processes. In particular, he can speak about the ways in which biological and environmental factors shape how children develop emotionally and socially, both in terms of normal and maladaptive development. He co-authored a policy brief for the Center for Poverty & Inequality Research that describes how poverty during childhood and adolescence can predict long-term health. Contact: Paul Hastings, UC Davis School of Education,

Ross Thompson is a distinguished professor of psychology. His research focuses on how to apply developmental research to public policies that include school readiness and its development, early childhood investments and early mental health. He can also speak about early parent-child relationships, the development of emotional understanding and emotion regulation, conscience development and the growth of self-understanding in young children. He wrote a policy brief for the Center for Poverty & Inequality Research that describes how poverty and depression affect a child’s social and emotional competence. Contact: Ross Thompson, Psychology,

Amanda Guyer is an associate professor in the Human Development and Family Studies Unit of the Department of Human Ecology. She is a developmental psychologist with expertise in the biological, cognitive and social-emotional aspects of human development during adolescence. She can speak about adolescent brain development, psychopathology (anxiety, depression, substance use), social and emotional development, the influences of parents and peers, stressful life events and the experience of poverty. Contact: Amanda Guyer, Human Ecology,

Rural poverty

Lisa Pruitt is a professor of law. Her research focuses on the legal and policy implications of rural poverty, poverty and race, and poverty and place, as well as how the intersection of poverty and rurality affects women’s access to abortion. She can also speak about income inequality along the rural-urban continuum and declining mobility with an emphasis on diminishing access to higher education. Pruitt blogs about rural legal issues at Contact: Lisa Pruitt, School of Law,

J. Edward Taylor is a professor of agricultural economics. He can discuss farm labor, internal and international migration, economic development, population and resources and labor economics. He can also discuss the impacts of immigration and other policy reforms on the supply of labor to U.S. farms and the economic welfare of California farm workers and the communities in which they live. He wrote a policy brief for the Center for Poverty & Inequality Research that describes the economic factors of a sharp anticipated decline in the supply of farm workers from Mexico. Contact J. Edward Taylor. Agricultural Resource Economics,


Media contact(s)

Karen Nikos-Rose, News and Media Relations, UC Davis, 530-219-5472,