Catherine Pakaluk

Academic Area

  • Social Research
  • School

  • Busch School of Business
  • Expertise

  • Applied Microeconomics
  • Economics of Education and Religion
  • Family Studies and Demography
  • Catholic Social Thought
  • Political Economy
  • Catherine Ruth Pakaluk (Ph.D, 2010) joined the faculty at the Busch School in the summer of 2016, and is the founder of the Social Research academic area, where she is an Associate Professor of Social Research and Economic Thought. Formerly, she was Assistant Professor and Chair of the Economics Department at Ave Maria University. Her primary areas of research include economics of education and religion, family studies and demography, Catholic social thought and political economy. Dr. Pakaluk is the 2015 recipient of the Acton Institute’s Novak Award, a prize given for “significant contributions to the study of the relationship between religion and economic liberty.”

    Pakaluk did her doctoral work at Harvard University under Caroline Hoxby, David Cutler, and 2016 Nobel-laureate Oliver Hart. Her dissertation, “Essays in Applied Microeconomics”, examined the relationship between religious ‘fit' and educational outcomes, the role of parental effort in observed peer effects and school quality, and theoretical aspects of the contraceptive revolution as regards twentieth century demographic trends.   

    Beyond her formal training in economics, Dr. Pakaluk studied Catholic social thought under the mentorship of F. Russell Hittinger, and various aspects of Thomistic thought with Steven A. Long. She is a widely-admired writer and sought-after speaker on matters of culture, gender, social science, the vocation of women, and the work of Edith Stein. She lives in Maryland with her husband Michael Pakaluk and eight children.
    “What is it that families generate (or preserve) in us that makes mobility and economic success so much more likely? What is it in our families that informs and shapes our political behaviors? Why is it that individualized conceptions of marriage and childbearing have taken hold with such intensity, even while self-reports of happiness are declining? These and related questions form the basis for a number of new research projects on the horizon: such projects will be vital to shaping sensible family policy in the short term, and to helping to restore the flourishing of our nation in the long term.”
    Catherine Ruth Pakaluk