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Catherine Thomas

My research examines the psychology of poverty and inequality and their remedies. Integrating social psychology, cultural psychology, and behavioral science, I uncover social psychological processes that undermine the economic mobility of people in poverty and simultaneously depress public will to address inequality. Yet, I show how affirming dignity, in culturally responsive ways, can promote economic mobility and well-being, particularly in the context of anti-poverty policies like universal basic income and cash transfers. In this work, I conduct lab and field experiments in the US and sub-Saharan Africa and in partnership with nonprofits and governments. My research has been published in peer-reviewed outlets including Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and in popular media outlets like Time Magazine and has been covered by outlets like The Washington Post. 

I am a doctoral candidate in Social Psychology at Stanford University and Stanford Interdisciplinary Graduate Fellow. I earned an M.Sc. in Global Mental Health from the University of London and a B.A. in Sociocultural Anthropology from Yale University.


Catherine Thomas

Stanford University, Department of Psychology
450 Jane Stanford Way

Building 420

Stanford, CA 94305

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