Barbara Wolfe is the Richard A. Easterlin Professor of Economics, Population Health Sciences, and Public Affairs and Faculty Affiliate at the Institute for Research on Poverty. Her research focuses broadly on poverty and health issues.
Wolfe's current projects examine whether housing voucher and public housing programs lead to better school performance of children in the household; how poverty influences critical brain areas among young children and these in turn influence school outcomes; the influence of growing up with a sibling who is adopted or who has a developmental disability or mental illness, or a sibling who dies, on outcomes as a young adult; and, a comparison of the effects of early childhood general health, physical health and mental health on long-term earnings and labor force participation.
Other recent work addresses effects of the Affordable Care Act, including effects on racial disparities in health care coverage, effects on mental health, and an overview of existing research and prospects for research in the future. Wolfe's projects also examine the adequacy of resources when individuals retire and during their first decade of retirement, and the response of these resources to health shocks.
She is a member of the National Academy of Medicine (formerly the Institute of Medicine), currently serving on its Roundtable on the application of social and behavioral science research. She served as vice chair of the National Academy of Sciences/Institute of Medicine Board on Children, Youth and Families and as a member of the Advisory Committee to the Director of the National Institutes of Health. She was a long-standing member of the National Advisory Committee for the Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Scholars program.
Wolfe's recent articles have appeared in the Journal of Public Economics, Journal of Human Resources, International Journal of Health Care Finance and Economics, Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, Economy Inquiry, Journal of Health Economics, and Demography. She received her doctorate in economics from the University of Pennsylvania.