Beth TruesdaleI am a sociologist who studies economic inequality, labor markets, health, and public policy.  My work focuses on the consequences of high and rising income inequality, the causes of health disparities between rich and poor, and the effects of changes in the nature of work in an aging society.

Currently, I am a research associate at Harvard’s Center for Population and Development Studies.  I am investigating how occupations shape individuals’ work options and decisions during the  run-up to retirement.  I’m interested in how some occupations make it easier for individuals to “age well,” while some, especially jobs that are physically demanding, make it harder.

I am co-editing (with Lisa Berkman) a volume titled Overtime: America’s Aging Workforce and the Future of “Working Longer.”  In the face of aging populations, policymakers in the U.S. and other industrialized nations have embraced the notion that most individuals can (and should) delay retirement and work longer. But changes in across generations in health, family, and work may make it hard for substantial sections of the U.S. population to continue to work into their 60s and beyond.  With funding from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, we are gathering an interdisciplinary community of top scholars to examine how the contexts that shape individuals’ likelihood of working longer are changing across cohorts, and how these contexts affect some population groups – especially racial minorities and lower-income workers – more than others.  This project has the potential to influence public policies that improve the workplace for older employees and to increase the public’s understanding of aging and labor force challenges.

I have a longstanding interest in the relationship between evidence and public policy.  I previously contributed to several projects designed to improve the use of evidence in services for children and families in the United Kingdom, and I worked on disability policy at the White House Office of Management and Budget.

I received my Ph.D. from Harvard University in 2017.  My dissertation focused on the relationships among economic inequality, population health, and health disparities in the U.S.  My research at Harvard was supported by the Russell Sage Foundation, the Washington Center for Equitable Growth, the Multidisciplinary Program in Inequality & Social Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School, the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics, the Institute for Quantitative Social Science, the Center on the Developing Child, the Center for American Political Studies, and the Tobin Project.

I also hold degrees from St. Olaf College in Minnesota and the University of Oxford, where I was a Rhodes Scholar.

You can download a copy of my CV here.