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Catherine Thomas

Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology and Department of Organizational Studies

Catherine Thomas studies poverty and inequality and their remedies using the insights of social psychology and lens of cultural psychology. Her research seeks to uncover social psychological processes that undermine the economic mobility of people in poverty and simultaneously depress public will to address inequality, perpetuating systems of poverty and inequality. Yet, Thomas shows how brief social psychological interventions can interrupt these systems. Specifically, her research reveals how attending to culturally specific forms of agency and motivation can promote both social inclusion (e.g., status, dignity, social support) and economic inclusion (e.g., economic mobility, support for redistributive policies). In other words, her research aims to identify drivers of social and cultural inclusion, economic equity, and their interactions. In this work, Thomas conducts lab and field experiments in the U.S. and low- and middle-income countries, including in partnership with nonprofits and governments and with interdisciplinary teams of economists and sociologists.

PhD, Stanford University; MSc, University of London; BA, Yale University.