Lauren Jones is an Assistant Professor of Consumer Sciences in the department of Human Sciences at The Ohio State University. She joined the faculty in 2015. She conducts quantitative, policy-based research on child and family wellbeing, especially in the areas of health 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.

In one line of work, Dr. Jones investigates how early life experiences can impact adulthood outcomes. She has investigated the long-term impacts of education and mental health treatment in childhood. At present, Lauren is working to explore the relationships between income inequality, health and education by exploring both the link between early life experiences of inequality and later life outcomes, and the link between educational opportunities in childhood and the ability of children to climb the income ladder.

In another line of work, Lauren investigates how social policy and consumer regulation impact how families make financial decisions, such as the use of credit cards and spending decisions. Policy that shapes how families spend money can have profound impacts on the downstream health, education and wellbeing of children. Currently, Lauren is working on projects that aim to evaluate how receipt of tax benefit income impacts spending decisions, and how consumer protection regulation impacts household financial decisions.

Her work has been featured in high-quality academic journals, such as the Journal of Health Economics and the Journal of Applied Econometrics, 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 Ph.D. in Policy Analysis at Cornell University.

Selected Work
Michelmore, K. and L.E. Jones. (2016). Timing is money: Does lump-sum payment of tax credits induce high-cost borrowing? SSRN working paper. doi:10.2139/ssrn.2712849

Jones, L.E., K. Milligan and M. Stabile. (2015). Child cash benefits and family expenditures: Evidence from the National Child Benefit. NBER working paper #21101.

Jones, L.E., C. Loibl, and S. Tennyson. (2015). Effects of informational nudges on consumer debt behavior. Journal of Economic Psychology, 51. doi:10.1016/j.joep.2015.06.009

Currie, J., M. Stabile, and L.E. Jones. (2014) Do stimulant medications improve educational and behavioral outcomes for children with ADHD? Journal of Health Economics, 37. doi:10.1016/j.jhealeco.2014.05.002NBER working paper 19105.

In the wake of an unforeseen and serious recession, this question has received extensive consideration by researchers, politicians, the media and the public. Inequality and segregation are increasing in many Western societies; have these changes imperiled the ability for children to succeed despite their parents’ place in the income distribution?

The primary purpose of this project is to identify how access to high-quality child care impacts the ability for children to move up the social ladder. Lauren will examine how community-level measures of access to childcare relate to community-level measure of social mobility. The secondary purpose of this research will therefore be to investigate how availability of for-profit versus non-profit childcare establishments affects the level of social mobility of a community.

All childcare is not created equal. Teacher quality, class size and facility quality, for instance, could impact the value of child care. One factor that is especially important in determining the quality of child care is for-profit status. Work in Canada has revealed significant quality differences between for-profit and non-profit childcare establishments. Government provided childcare appears to suffer from its own set of drawbacks (Baker, Gruber and Milligan 2008; Kottelenberg and Lehrer 2013; Baker, Gruber and Milligan 2015). If funding structure is an important determinant of childcare quality, then will for-profit status also impact how effectively childcare can level the playing field?