Professor Jones conducts quantitative, policy-based research on child and family wellbeing, especially in the areas of health and social policy, and household economics. Her interests lie in understanding what factors impact the ability of children and families to flourish, and how government policy can help families get ahead. Her research is unified by its focus on low-income families, children and other vulnerable populations.

In one line of work, Jones studies cash and in-kind transfer policies targeted at families with children. She explores how family tax credits – such as the Canadian Child Benefit and the Earned Income Tax Credit – affect household spending and financial decisions. She also explores how these programs affect long-term health and educational outcomes for both parents and children.

In another line of work, Jones investigates how individual and household health behaviors and outcomes – especially risky health behaviors – are impacted by policy. She has explored the effectiveness of traffic safety legislation on child restraint use, and questions surrounding prescription drug use and misuse. In ongoing work on the Affordable Care Act, Jones is exploring how families adjusted spending and housing decisions in response to gaining health insurance.

Her work has been featured in high-quality academic journals, such as the Journal of Health Economics and the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, selective conferences, and the media. Before joining OSU, Lauren completed a post-doctoral fellowship in inequality and social mobility at the Martin Prosperity Institute at University of Toronto. In 2014, Lauren completed her PhD in Policy Analysis at Cornell University.

Areas of research

  • Health Policy
  • Social Policy
  • Economic Policy
  • Regulation Policy
  • Policy Analysis and Management



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