Associate Professor, and Director of Graduate Studies
2310 Martha Van Rensselaer Hall
Ithaca, New York
Policy Analysis and Management
Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research
Cornell Institute for Public Affairs


Laura Tach is an Associate Professor of Policy Analysis and Management and Sociology (by courtesy) at Cornell University. Her research and teaching interests focus on poverty and social policy.

Together with Rachel Dunifon, she co-directs Cornell Project 2Gen, an initiative of the Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research. Project 2Gen serves as a hub for research, policy, and practice that supports vulnerable caregivers and children together. 

Laura received her Ph.D. in Sociology and Social Policy at Harvard University in 2010. Prior to joining the Department of Policy Analysis and Management at Cornell, Laura was a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Postdoctoral Scholar at the University of Pennsylvania.


Sarah Halpern-Meekin, Kathryn Edin, Laura Tach, and Jennifer Sykes McLaughlin. 2015. It’s Not Like I’m Poor: The Financial Lives of the Working Poor. University of California Press.

- Media Coverage: New York Times 20150413, Boston Globe, Kansas City Star, Providence Journal, KERA (Texas NPR Affiliate), WPR (Wisconsin NPR Affiliate), Majority Report, CNNMoney, The Week, The Hill , Brookings Social Mobility Memos

Selected Journal Articles

Tach, Laura and Allison Dwyer Emory*. 2017. “Public Housing Redevelopment, Neighborhood Change, and the Restructuring of Urban Inequality.”  American Journal of Sociology 123(3): 686-739.

Tach, Laura and Kathryn Edin. 2017. “The Social Safety Net after Welfare Reform: Recent Developments and Consequences for Household Dynamics.” Annual Review of Sociology 43: 541-561.

Tach, Laura, Sara Jacoby, Douglas J. Wiebe, Therese Guerra, and Therese S. Richmond. 2016. “The Effect of Microneighborhood Conditions on Adult Educational Attainment in a Subsidized Housing Intervention.” Housing Policy Debate 26(2): 380-397.

-  Media Coverage: The Atlantic, New York Magazine, How Housing Matters

Tach, Laura and Alicia Eads*. 2015. “The Economic Consequences of Marital and Cohabitation Dissolution.” Demography 52(2): 401-432.

Tach, Laura. 2015. “Social Mobility in an Era of Family Instability and Complexity.” Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Sciences 657: 83-97. 

Tach, Laura. 2014. “Diversity, Inequality, and Microsegregation: Dynamics of Inclusion and Exclusion in a Racially and Economically Diverse Community.” Cityscape 16(3): 13-45.

Tach, Laura, Kathryn Edin, Hope Harvey*, and Brielle Bryan*. 2014. “The Family-Go-Round: Family Complexity and Father Involvement from a Father's Perspective.” Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Sciences 654(1): 169-184.

Tach, Laura and Sarah Halpern-Meekin. 2014. “Tax Code Knowledge and Behavioral Responses among EITC Recipients: Policy Insights from Qualitative Data.” Journal of Policy Analysis and Management 33(2) 413-439.

Tach, Laura and Sara Sternberg Greene*. 2014. “Robbing Peter to Pay Paul: Economic and Cultural Explanations for How Lower-Income Families Manage Debt.” Social Problems 61(1): 1-21.

McLanahan, Sara, Laura Tach, and Daniel Schneider. 2013. “The Causal Effect of Father Absence.Annual Review of Sociology 39: 399-427.

- Media Coverage: New York Times 20160323, Huffington Post 20160323

Tach, Laura, Ronald Mincy, and Kathryn Edin. 2010. “Parenting as a Package Deal: Relationships, Fertility, and Nonresident Father Involvement among Unmarried Parents.” Demography. 47(1): 181-204.

- Media Coverage: Los Angeles Times, Mother Jones, Huffington Post 20131221


Writings for Public and Policy Audiences

Edin, Kathryn, H. Luke Shaefer, and Laura Tach. 2017. “A New Anti-Poverty Litmus Test.” Pathways Magazine (Spring): Bold Visions-Blueprints for Ending Poverty.

Tach, Laura and Christopher Wimer. 2017. “Evaluating Policies to Transform Distressed Urban Neighborhoods.” US Partnership on Mobility from Poverty.

Kimberlin, Sara, Laura Tach, and Christopher Wimer. 2017. “Anti-Poverty Initiatives for the United States: A Renter’s Tax Credit.” Focus, Institute for Research on Poverty. University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Halpern-Meekin, Sarah, Laura Tach, Jennifer Sykes, and Kathryn Edin. 2016. “A Hand Up for Lower-Income Families.” Contexts.

Tach, Laura and Kathryn Edin. 2015. “When Taxes Aren’t A Drag.” New York Times Op-Ed.

Tach, Laura. 2014. “How Low-Income Americans Understand and React to the Earned Income Tax Credit.” Policy Brief, Scholar Strategy Network.     

Tach, Laura. 2013. “Mixed-Income Community Dynamics: Five Insights from Ethnography.” Evidence Matters. Department of Housing and Urban Development.    

Tach, Laura and Alicia Eads. 2013. “The Cost of Breaking Up.” Focus, Institute for Research on Poverty. University of Wisconsin-Madison.


  • PAM 3250: Neighborhoods & Housing Policy
  • PAM 3150: Social Welfare Policy in the United States
  • PAM 4190: Poverty, Policy, & Child Development
  • PAM 3160: Population Controversies in Europe & the US (Turin, Italy)
  • B.A. Sociology, Pennsylvania State University
  • A.M. Sociology, Harvard University
  • Ph.D. Sociology & Social Policy, Harvard University