“As a single mother in graduate school, having PSC funding that allowed me to really focus on research was essential to my progress”
Lucie G. Schmidt
Associate Professor of Economics, Department of Economics, Williams College.
Ph.D. Economics, 2003 University of Michigan
My husband Dan Hodge is a Principal Economist for HDR, Inc. – he works primarily on economic development and transportation issues in the New England area. My daughter, Hope, who was with me while I was a student at U of M, is graduating from Drew University in May 2011 with double majors in Spanish and Anthropology – she has traveled extensively and has lived in both Argentina and Ecuador. The newest addition to our family, my son Max, turns one in March 2011.
My research has concentrated on two primary areas: 1) the economics of marriage and fertility decisions, and 2) examining costs and benefits of various social insurance programs. My work in the area of marriage and fertility decisions includes an analysis of nonmarital childbearing among college-educated women; a paper examining the effects of heterogeneous risk preferences on marriage and fertility timing; and a series of NICHD-funded papers on the effects of state-level legislation mandating insurance coverage of infertility treatment. My work on social insurance programs has included an examination of whether efforts to reform the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program led to an increase in caseloads for another means-tested program, Supplemental Security Income (SSI); a paper examining the relationship between SSI applications and receipt and material hardship among a sample of former welfare recipients; a paper providing evidence on how labor markets for low-skill women are affected by various changes to social welfare programs, including AFDC and the Earned Income Tax Credit; and an analysis of the costs and the benefits of a marginal increase in Disability Insurance program generosity. I have also worked on a number of retirement-related topics.
PSC's Influence on Career
My time as a trainee at PSC gave me a chance to work collaboratively with other people who were interested in similar topics. My PSC project with John Bound was my first research project that focused on disability policy – an area I continue to work on today. And for someone interested in the economics of the family, being able to interact with and be mentored by Bob Willis and David Lam was extremely important to my development as an economist. I also formed close friendships and collaborative relationships with a number of other PSC trainees, including Purvi Sevak, with whom I have worked extensively on a wide range of topics.
The funding I received through PSC was extremely important to the successful completion of my Ph.D. As a single mother in graduate school, having funding that allowed me to really focus on research was essential to my progress. But the mentoring I received from faculty and the close friendships and coauthoring relationships I formed with other students have had much longer lasting effects on my career.