Laura is the Project Lead on Higher Education Finance at the Jain Family Institute. She completed her Masters Degree in International Finance and Economic Policy at Columbia University SIPA. Laura has produced extensive tools for understanding and comparing existing higher education financing models and the projected impacts of ISAs, among other options. She is the lead research of JFI's ongoing "Geography of Higher Education" project, which studies inequalities in access to higher ed in the United States. Laura grew up in Atlanta, GA.

January 28, 2023

Analysis

Gender and the Great Resignation

Dynamics of gender and class in the Covid-era labor market

The much anticipated “return to normal” after the Covid-19 pandemic has been anything but. In contrast to the aftermath of previous economic crises, workers have not rushed back to work. Each month over a period of nine months in 2021,…

January 26, 2023

Analysis

Don’t Say “Scramble for Africa”

Debt and diplomacy on the African continent

Debt, diplomacy, and the risks of a new Cold War.

December 15, 2022

Analysis

Europe’s “Leap Into the Future”

Do exceptional crisis-fighting policies signal the arrival of an interventionist Europe? 

In 2020, as demand for liquefied natural gas boomed in Asia, the shippable fuel was an afterthought in Europe. But when Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 imperiled the continent’s energy supply, Europe panicked and spent the intervening year…

December 8, 2022

Analysis

Money and the Climate Crisis

COP27 and financing the green transition

The conclusion of COP27 reflected persisting uncertainties around coordinated global action towards decarbonization. Major agreements—including the establishment of a loss and damage fund—were reached, but the burden of mounting debt among global South countries continued to limit climate ambition. The…

December 2, 2022

Analysis

Development Bank Self-Sabotage

What’s stopping MDBs?

When the World Bank and IMF make radical noises, the US is typically the voice of restraint. So it came as a surprise to casual observers when, at October’s Annual Meetings, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen urged the Bank and other…

November 30, 2022

Interviews

Bittersweet Tides

Chile, Brazil, and the future of the Latin American Left

The recent victories of left parties across Latin America—most recently the election of President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in Brazil—have prompted comparisons with the Pink Tide of the early 2000s. But with narrow margins of victory against far-right opponents,…

October 13, 2022

Interviews

The Geopolitics of Stuff

A discussion on supply chains, commodities, and climate

The material economy is back. Economists and commentators in recent decades had heralded (or lamented) the arrival of an automated, redundant, frictionless system of international commerce. But over the past two years, multiple global crises have exposed the fragile physical…

July 23, 2022

Interviews

Resource Nationalism and Decarbonization

Revisiting “resource nationalism” in a new era of raw minerals demand

Across Latin America, a recent wave of left electoral victories has drawn comparisons to “Pink Tide” of the early 2000s. The current moment, however, coincides with a global push towards decarbonization, and much of the world’s supply of commodities essential…

June 10, 2022

Analysis

Leapfrog Logistics

Digital platforms, infrastructure, and labor in Brazil and China

In Spring 2018, two significant labor disputes broke out at opposite ends of the earth. The first, in Brazil, was a two-week-long mass strike of 400,000 truckers in response to successive price increases unleashed by the state oil company, Petrobras,…

December 17, 2021

Analysis

Death or glory?

New forms of fascism haunt Chile’s presidential election

In October 2019, a proposed thirty peso hike in public transport fares triggered protests in Santiago that spread to other major cities across the country, denouncing the country’s economic infrastructure with the slogan, “It’s not thirty pesos, it’s thirty years.” Chileans…


How Schools Lie

The deceptive financial aid system at America's colleges.

No matter how talented, hard working, and committed a student is, if financing falls through, the dream of obtaining higher education can be dashed. But much of the financial data that prospective students receive is misleading. In the cost information…

June 18, 2021

Interviews

Investment and Decarbonization

A conversation on investment strategies for the green transition

In late March, the Biden administration announced the $2 trillion American Jobs Plan, with approximately half of the sum dedicated to fighting the climate crisis. While the legislation would mark a sea change in federal action to avert climate catastrophe,…


Unceasing Debt, Disparate Burdens: Student Debt and Young America

JFI’s interactive map presents the geography of student debt.

Since the Great Recession, outstanding student loan debt in the United States has increased by 122% in 2019 dollars, reaching the staggering sum of $1.66 trillion in June of this year. Student loan debt has grown faster than other debt…

August 8, 2020

Interviews

Economics, Bosses, and Interest

An interview with Stephen Marglin.

Stephen Marglin is Walter S. Barker Professor Economics at Harvard University, where he has taught since he received tenure in 1968.

July 27, 2020

Analysis

Essential Infrastructures

The case for sovereign investment in telecommunications infrastructure

How should the fabric of social life, especially as it is rewoven by the pandemic, relate to the private ownership of telecommunications?


Mapping concentration and prices in the US higher education industry During and after the Great Recession, public funding for higher education was slashed as part of state budget austerity. Staff and programs were cut and tuition rose; in many states,…

April 24, 2020

Interviews

The Weight of Movements

An interview with Frances Fox Piven

Few theorists of social movements have shaped the events that they analyze. Frances Fox Piven, Professor of Political Science and Sociology at the City University of New York and one of these few, has studied and agitated within American social…

February 13, 2020

Interviews

Austerity and Ideology

An interview with Kim Phillips-Fein

Kim Phillips-Fein is an associate professor of history at New York University and the author of the books "Invisible Hands: the Businessmen’s Crusade Against the New Deal" and "Fear City: New York’s Fiscal Crisis and the Rise of Austerity Politics",…


Mapping market concentration in the higher education industry In much of the existing higher education literature, “college access” is understood in terms of pre-college educational attainment, social and informational networks, and financial capacity, both for tuition and living expenses. The…

September 26, 2019

Interviews

Optimizing the Crisis

An interview with Seda Gürses and Bekah Overdorf

Software that structures increasingly detailed aspects of contemporary life is built for optimization. These programs require a mapping of the world in a way that is computationally legible, and translating the messy world into one that makes sense to a…

February 4, 2019

Reviews

What happens when you give people cash? How do they use the money, and how does it change their lives? Every cash study on this list is different: the studies vary in intervention type, research design, location, size, disbursement amount,…