Institute for Economic and Racial Equity

Sakshi Jain, Scholar in Residence

Sakshi Jain, Lecturer

Though she has only been at Heller a short time, Sakshi Jain is already making her mark. IERE’s newest Scholar in Residence is also teaching two master’s-level courses in 2021 and is the faculty advisor for the MPP Economic and Racial Equity concentration. An economist by training, Sakshi’s research focuses on economic analysis of policies and programs, as well as their inherent consequences in both emerging and developed countries.

“If I can narrow it down a bit, I study how to design and evaluate public policies and interventions that seek to assist groups that don’t often benefit from economic growth,” Sakshi said. “And so I’m interested in racial segregation, gender inequalities... I’m interested in questions about programs and policies that target early intervention in children, education policies, health programs, labor force participation, women’s welfare, and poverty... in India and the U.S.”

Sakshi engages with this work in part due to her experiences growing up in India. “I come from a developing country, India, and it’s not just a developing country, it’s also a country that’s more patriarchal in nature. So, as a woman... I felt that I experienced these inequalities first-hand. This is not just a professional choice for me. It resonates with me because I experienced these inequalities growing up. After I moved to the U.S., I noticed that the gender inequalities weren’t as obvious, though they exist in the U.S. I noticed that there are... racial inequalities and, of course, income inequalities as well. So, that got me more and more interested in issues of inequality.”

Sakshi’s projects have included studying the student outcomes in diverse-by-design charter schools in New York City and Denver, Colorado, and the preliminary results of the study are promising. “What we’re finding is that students who study with a more diverse set of peer groups, teachers, administrators, and staff members... they tend to do a lot better, not just academically in terms of test scores, but also in terms of the behavioral outcomes. So, they’re less likely to be suspended, for example. And this is specifically true for students of color.”

Currently, Sakshi is pursuing research around restorative practices to address mass incarceration and housing discrimination. “I’m particularly interested... in what these trends mean in terms of their spillovers on income inequality, on health, on education and of course, at the root of all this is racial injustice.” In working with the IERE team, Sakshi is most excited about the impact-oriented research. “We’ll be working with real people not just datasets... I feel like we have this holistic approach to doing research as well as making sure our research can also lead to an impact on real people and in real time.”

Please join us in welcoming Sakshi Jain to the IERE team!