Jenna Stearns

Jenna Stearns Portrait

Position Title
Associate Professor

1114 SSH
1 Shields Avenue, Davis CA 95616


  • Ph.D.;Economics;University of California, Santa Barbara;2017
  • M.A.;Economics;University of California, Santa Barbara;2012
  • B.A., Economics, Whitman College, 2010


Jenna Stearns is an assistant professor of economics at UC Davis. Her primary research interests include labor, public, and health economics. She is particularly interested in the relationship between fertility choices and investments in human capital.

Research Focus

Her research agenda is focused on understanding how social policies that provide paid leave and other family-friendly benefits affect men, women and children. She is particularly interested in how these policies can be used to reduce gender and socioeconomic inequality in the workplace and at home. Her current research examines the effects of family-friendly policies on labor market choices, productivity, family structure, education, and health outcomes. Her research suggests that paid leave benefits can have large welfare-improving effects and may be a way to reduce socioeconomic disparities in health and labor market outcomes. It also highlights the fact that some policies that are aimed at promoting gender equality in the workplace can have negative consequences for women.


  • Stearns, Jenna. (2015). The Effects of Paid Maternity Leave: Evidence from Temporary Disability Insurance. Journal of health economics, 43, 85-102.
  • Lundberg, Shelly, Pollak, Robert A., & Stearns, Jenna. (2016). Family Inequality: Diverging Patterns in Marriage, Cohabitation, and Childbearing. The Journal of Economic Perspectives, 30(2), 79-101.
  • Bartel, Ann P., Maya Rossin‐Slater, Christopher J. Ruhm, Jenna Stearns, and Jane Waldfogel. "Paid family leave, fathers’ leave‐taking, and leave‐sharing in dual‐earner households." Journal of Policy Analysis and Management 37, no. 1 (2018): 10-37.
  • Stearns, Jenna, and Corey White. "Can paid sick leave mandates reduce leave-taking?." Labour Economics 51 (2018): 227-246.
  • Antecol, Heather, Kelly Bedard, and Jenna Stearns. "Equal but Inequitable: Who Benefits from Gender-Neutral Tenure Clock Stopping Policies?." American Economic Review 108, no. 9 (2018): 2420-41.
  • Lundberg, Shelly, and Jenna Stearns. "Women in economics: Stalled progress." Journal of Economic Perspectives 33, no. 1 (2019): 3-22.


Jenna Stearns teaches undergraduate and graduate labor economics.