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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 currently a doctoral candidate in Social Psychology at Stanford University and Stanford Interdisciplinary Graduate Fellow and have an M.Sc. in Global Mental Health from the University of London and a B.A. in Sociocultural Anthropology from Yale University. In 2023, I'll be starting as an Assistant Professor in Psychology and Organizational Studies at the University of Michigan.


Catherine Thomas

Stanford University, Department of Psychology
450 Jane Stanford Way

Building 420

Stanford, CA 94305

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