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Elizabeth T Powers

Profile picture for Elizabeth T Powers

Contact Information

Department of Economics
211 David Kinley Hall (DKH)
1407 W. Gregory Dr.
Urbana, IL 61801

Associate Professor


Elizabeth T. Powers is an Associate Professor in the Economics Department. She is also a Partnering Scholar at the Institute of Government & Public Affairs and a Faculty Affiliate of the Family Resiliency Center, both at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Prior to her position with the University of Illinois, Dr. Powers worked in the Research Department of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland as an Economist, for the President's Council of Economic Advisers in the George H.W. Bush Administration as a Junior Staff Economist during her Ph.D. program, and for the Economic Research Service of the USDA during college. Dr. Powers received her Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania and is a cum laude graduate of Vassar College with departmental distinction in Economics.

Dr. Powers's research focuses on the influence of public policy on well-being across the life-course. Important areas of work include the unintended effects of social policies aimed at single-parent households, persons with disabilities, and the elderly; caregiving in non-familial settings such as daycares and nursing homes; and the caregiving workforce. Her current research interests are focused on child development, including projects on the impact of important family events on children's healthy development; factors influencing how children are parented; and participation of family care providers in the Child and Adult Care Feeding Program. Dr. Powers has also conducted resaerch on the  college pipeline of women economics majors, using an RCT applied to University of Illinois economics undergraduate students.

Dr. Powers has an extensive record of public service. For the past several years she has been responsible for conducting the data analysis for the Illinois Department of Human Service's biannual report to the Federal government, documenting its status in meeting its requirements under the Child Care and Development Blog Grant. Her work on the low-wage caregiving workforce has been cited in the U.S. Supreme Court case Harris v. Quinn. Dr. Powers's declaration on the status of direct care workers in Illinois was cited by the judge as the key evidence in her decision in Ligas v. Norwood, a case brought against the state of Illinois on behalf of individuals with developmental disabilities.

Dr. Powers is the recipient of numerous grants, fellowships, and awards. She was an affiliate of the Joint Centers for Poverty Research at both Northwestern and the University of Michigan, the Disability Research Institute at the University of Illinois, and maintains an affiliation with the Michigan Retirement Research Center.

Research Interests

Public economics, Social insurance, Poverty and inequality, Education, Health


Economics, Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania
Economics, B.A., Vassar College

Ph.D. in Economics, The University of Pennsylvania
B.A. in Economics, Vassar College (cum laude, departmental honors)

Courses Taught

ECON 442 Women in the Economy (previously ECON 490)

Additional Campus Affiliations

Associate Professor, Economics
Director of Undergraduate Programs, Economics
Associate Professor, Women & Gender in Global Perspectives

Recent Publications

Koester, B. D., Sloane, S., Speirs, K. E., Powers, E. T., & Gordon, R. A. (2024). Family Child Care Providers' Experience With the Child and Adult Care Food Program During the COVID-19 Pandemic. American journal of public health, 114(4), 366-371.

Powers, E. T. (2023). Making Family Childcare More Resilient: Child and Adult Care Food Program Policies During the COVID-19 Pandemic May Point the Way Forward. American journal of public health, 113, S188-S190.

Halim, D., Powers, E. T., & Thornton, R. (2022). Gender Differences in Economics Course-Taking and Majoring: Findings from an RCT. AEA Papers and Proceedings, 112, 597-602.

Halim, D., Powers, E. T., & Thornton, R. L. (2021). Gender Differences in Economics Course-Taking and Majoring: Findings from an RCT. (Policy Research Working Paper; No. 9732). World Bank Group.

Powers, E. T. (2020). Child care is foundational for economic recovery. (Policy Spotlight). Institute of Government and Public Affairs, University of Illinois.

View all publications on Illinois Experts