Maureen Waller is a sociologist who studies families, poverty, and social policy. Professor Waller’s research has used a mixed methods approach to examine social and policy issues which deeply impact the lives of economically disadvantaged families. This work has drawn on hundreds of qualitative interviews as well as national survey and policy data to provide new insight into the experiences of marginalized families at the intersection of the child support, welfare, family court, and criminal justice systems. Her current research examines how people accrue state-owed legal debt in these systems, the enforcement mechanisms used to collect on these debts, and the adverse consequences for low-income communities of color.
Professor Waller authored My Baby’s Father: Unmarried Parents and Parental Responsibility.
She received the Cornell Engaged Scholar Prize in 2020, and is an affiliate of the Cornell Population Center, the Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research, and the Center for the Study of Inequality. She is an original network member of the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study and serves as associate editor of Sociological Perspectives.
Professor Waller received her Ph.D. in Sociology from Princeton University.