March 27-29, 2015 Cambridge, MA

ANDREW CHERLIN is the Benjamin H. Griswold III Professor of Public Policy and the Sociology Department Chair at Johns Hopkins University. His research is in the sociology of families and public policy. Dr. Cherlin has published books and articles on topics such as marriage, divorce, children’s well-being, intergenerational relations, family policy, and welfare policy. His most recent book (December 2014) is Labor’s Love Lost: The Rise and Fall of the Working-Class Family in America. He was also a principal investigator of the “Three-City Study,” an interdisciplinary study of low-income children and their caregivers in the post-welfare-reform era.

KATHERINE EDIN is a Bloomberg Distinguished Professor in the Department of Sociology at Johns Hopkins University. She studies poverty by deploying ethnographic observations, in-depth interviews, and mixed method approaches to the domain of welfare and low-wage work, family life, and neighborhood contexts. Ongoing projects include: a study of extreme poverty in the U.S.; a book on the lives of the working poor, the intergenerational transmission of poverty, and a study on the tradeoffs moderate and low income families make when deciding where to live, what kind of place to rent or purchase, and where to send their children to school.

MARK EDWARDS is the Founder and Co-Chair of Opportunity Nation, a bipartisan, multi-sector campaign to enhance economic opportunity and mobility in America. For 23 years he worked on the board of Horizons for Homeless Children and became troubled by data indicating that it is now more difficult than ever for a child born in a low-income area to become upwardly mobile. He began working with partner coalitions and organizations to launch Opportunity Nation, which has now created the Opportunity Index, a tool that measures 16 factors for economic, educational, and civic opportunity across regions.

BILL GALSTON holds the Ezra K. Zilkha Chair in the Brookings Institution’s Governance Studies Program, where he serves as a senior fellow. He is also College Park Professor at the University of Maryland. A former policy advisor to President Clinton and presidential candidates, Galston is an expert on domestic policy, political campaigns, and elections. His current research focuses on designing a new social contract and the implications of political polarization.

ARIEL KALIL is a professor at the University of Chicago, where she also directs the Center for Human Potential and Public Policy and co-directs the Behavioral Insights and Parenting Lab. She is a developmental psychologist who studies economic conditions, parenting, and child development. Her  current research examines the historical evolution of income-based gaps in parenting behavior and children’s cognitive and non-cognitive skills. She is currently leading a variety of field experiments designed to strengthen parental engagement and child development in low-income families using tools drawn from behavioral economics and neuroscience.

SARA MCLANAHAN is the William S. Tod Professor of Sociology and Public Affairs at Princeton University. She is also Director of the Bendheim-Thoman Center for Research on Child Wellbeing and Editor-in-Chief of The Future of Children, a journal dedicated to providing research and analysis for effective policies and programs for children. Her early work focused on the growth of single-mother families, and she is currently studying “fragile families,” unmarried parents raising a child together. She is interested in the effects of family structure on social inequality and the roles that public policies can play in addressing the needs of families and children.

RONALD MINCY is the Maurice V. Russell Professor of Social Policy and Social Work Practice at Columbia University. He previously served at the Ford Foundation where he worked on issues such as improving U.S. social welfare policies for low-income fathers, especially child support, and workforce development policies; he also served on the Clinton Administration’s Welfare Reform Task Force. Dr. Mincy’s research focuses on economic and social mobility, child support, income security policy, responsible fatherhood, low-wage labor markets, and urban poverty.

ROBERT D. PUTNAM is Malkin Professor of Public Policy at Harvard. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the British Academy, and past president of the American Political Science Association. He has received numerous scholarly honors, including the Skytte Prize, the most prestigious global award in political science, and the National Humanities Medal, the nation’s highest honor for contributions to the humanities. He has written fourteen books, including Bowling Alone and Making Democracy Work, both among the most cited publications in the social sciences in the last half century. His most recent book, Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis, was published in March 2015.

RICHARD REEVES is a fellow in Economic Studies and policy director for the Center on Children and Families at the Brookings Institute, whose research focuses on economic mobility. His principal areas of interest are the theory and practice of coalition building, the development of progressive political thought, policies relating to social mobility, the economics and politics of wellbeing, the formation of character, contemporary gender and masculinity, the future of the workplace, and organizational leadership.

ISABEL SAWHILL is a senior fellow in Economic Studies at the Brookings Institution. She serves as co-director of the Budgeting for National Priorities project and co-director of the Center on Children and Families. In 2009, she began the Social Genome Project, an initiative that seeks to determine how to increase economic opportunity for disadvantaged children. She also served as an associate director at the Office of Management and Budget from 1993 to 1995, where her responsibilities included all of the human resource programs of the federal government, accounting for one third of the federal budget. Her research has focused on economic and social issues, including fiscal policy, economic growth, poverty and inequality, welfare reform, the well-being of children, and changes in the family.

SCOTT STANLEY is a research professor and co-director of the Center for Marital and Family Studies at the University of Denver. His research interests include commitment, cohabitation, communication, conflict, risk factors for divorce, the prevention of marital distress, and couple development before marriage. His greatest intellectual passion is focused on advancing basic scientific understanding of unmarried and/or premarital romantic relationships, especially related to factors that impact the development of commitment and log-term outcomes.

BRAD WILCOX is Director of the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia, Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Virginia, Visiting Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, and a Senior Fellow at the Institute for Family Studies. Professor Wilcox’s research has focused on marriage, fatherhood, and cohabitation, especially on the ways that family structure, civil society, and culture influence the quality and stability of family life in the United States and around the globe. Now, Dr. Wilcox is exploring the contribution that families make to the economic welfare of individuals and societies.