Molly Metzger

Molly Metzger

Assistant Professor of Social Work, Washington University


Dr. Metzger’s research explores the ways in which public policies interact with social structure and developmental factors to shape cities and lives. She has developed a flexible toolkit of analytic approaches to explore persistent social problems, seeking to illuminate the lived experiences of poor and working class citizens.

Dr. Metzger’s work focuses on affordable housing policy, racial segregation, and the deconcentration of poverty in American cities. Her recent work includes a community-based participatory research project in which she partnered with residents of the Julia C. Lathrop Homes, the last major public housing on Chicago’s north side.

Her work also extends into other areas of social welfare, including education policy and early childhood development. She has contributed to the growing body of literature demonstrating the long-term health benefits of breastfeeding, particularly with regard to the prevention of obesity. In prior work at the University of Chicago’s Harris School of Public Policy Studies, she managed data collection for an early childhood intervention based at 35 Chicago Head Start sites.

Dr. Metzger has experienced the “front lines” of urban poverty in Chicago as a service provider, a researcher, and an engaged citizen. She brings this experience to bear on both her research and her teaching.

Curriculum Vitae

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Year Degree Institution
2012 PhD, Human Development and Social Policy Northwestern University
2009 MA, Human Development and Social Policy Northwestern University
2001 BA, Women's Studies Carleton College


Year Title  
2012 Rituals of Inclusion: Public Housing Transformation and the Illusion of "Choice" Adobe Acrobat PDF Logo Download Adobe Acrobat PDF

Selected Publications

McDade, T. W., Metzger, M. W., Chyu, L., Duncan, G. J., Garfield, C., & Adam, E. K. (Working Paper/In Press/Under Review). Long term effects of birth weight and breastfeeding duration on inflammation in young adulthood. Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

Metzger, M. W. (Working Paper/In Press/Under Review). The reconcentration of poverty: Patterns of housing voucher use, 2000-2008. Housing Policy Debate..
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Duncan, G. J., Bergman, L., Duckworth, K., Kokko, K., Lyyra, A., Metzger, M., Pulkkinen, L., & Simonton, S (2012). The role of child skills and behaviors in the intergenerational transmission of inequality: A cross-national study in J. Ermisch, M. Jäntti, & T. Smeeding (Eds.), From parents to children: The intergenerational transmission of advantage From parents to children: The intergenerational transmission of advantage.

Metzger & McDade (2010). Breastfeeding as Obesity Prevention in the United States: A Sibling Difference Model. American Journal of Human Biology 22: 291-296.
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Figlio, Hart, and Metzger (2010). Who Uses a Means-tested Scholarship, and What do They Choose?. Economics of Education Review 29: 301-317.
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Research Interests

Affordable housing and community development; Head Start and early social and emotional development; social inequality; Chicago.

Last Updated: 2014-09-08 16:01:36