URBAN INSTITUTE

Expert

Caroline Ratcliffe
Expert

Caroline Ratcliffe

Senior fellow

I like that my professional work connects with the real world and underserved and vulnerable groups. The playing field isn’t level, and the path to economic security and success can be arduous. It gives me satisfaction that my research can inform and improve programs and policies aimed at helping low-income families and children.

Biography

Caroline Ratcliffe is a senior fellow and economist in the Center on Labor, Human Services, and Population at the Urban Institute. An expert in the asset building and poverty fields, she has published and spoken extensively on the role of emergency savings, consumer use of alternative financial sector products, poverty, and welfare programs and policies. Among her research for government agencies and foundations, Ratcliffe has evaluated programs aimed at moving low-income families into the financial mainstream and how welfare programs and policies impact families’ economic well-being. Her research has also identified wealth gaps by age and race, and measured how the Great Recession led to a further widening of these gaps.

Ratcliffe’s research has been published in numerous academic journals, including Demography, American Economic Review Papers and Proceedings, and theJournal of Economic Behavior and Organization. She recently published a chapter in the Oxford Handbook of the Economics of Poverty, “Is Poverty Incompatible with Asset Accumulation?” Ratcliffe has also provided testimony to the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee on closing the racial wealth gap. Her work has been cited in many media outlets, including the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, and the Economist, and she has appeared on C-SPAN, Al Jazeera America, NPR, and Marketplace.

Before joining Urban, Ratcliffe held positions at the Congressional Budget Office and Brookings Institution; she was also a visiting associate professor at Georgetown University. She holds a PhD in economics from Cornell University.