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Jane Leer


Doctoral student in Public Policy and Psychology (joint program)

As an interdisciplinary researcher in public policy and psychology, I'm interested in how social context shapes cognitive and social emotional development. More specifically, I focus on how macro-level structural inequality is reproduced and disrupted through processes at the family and neighborhood level, and the resulting implications for youth’s identity formation and academic trajectories.

In prior work—all international—I have examined gender norms, classism, and decentralized governance as macro-level sources of inequality shaping child and adolescent development. Going forward, I plan to focus on economic inequality as a key macro-level factor driving child and adolescent outcomes, in the US and globally. Current projects include an analysis of the relation between wage inequality and early grade literacy trajectories in North Carolina and an experimental evaluation of a home visit parenting program implemented at scale in Nicaragua. 

My focus on the intersection between inequality, policy, and human development is informed by my experience working with aid agencies, NGOs, and governments as an applied researcher at the Inter-American Development Bank in Nicaragua (3 years) and the Education Research Team at Save the Children (3 years). 


B.A. University of California, Berkeley, Highest Honors in Development Studies/Political Economy (2011)
M.A. Stanford University Graduate School of Education, International Education Policy Analysis (2015)