Jenna Stearns

Assistant Professor of Economics
Jenna Stearns

Jenna Stearns

Jenna Stearns earned her PhD at UC Santa Barbara. Her primary research interests include family, gender, education, and health economics. She is particularly interested in the relationship between fertility choices and investments in human capital. Her current research examines the effects of family-friendly policies on labor market choices, productivity, family structure, education, and health outcomes. She uses state, national, and institutional policy changes as quasi-experimental variation in access to paid leave in order to identify causal estimates of program effects. Her research suggests that paid leave benefits can have large welfare-improving effects and may be a way to reduce socioeconomic disparities in health and labor market outcomes. It also highlights the fact that some policies that are aimed at promoting gender equality in the workplace can have negative consequences for women. Dr. Stearns’ work has appeared in the Journal of Health Economics and the Journal of Economic Perspectives.