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Lawrence M. Berger, PhD

Inducted in 2015

Current Position

Vilas Distinguished Achievement Professor, Director of the Institute for Research on Poverty, University of Wisconsin-Madison


BA, Rutgers University; MSW, Hunter College; Ph.D., Columbia

Lawrence (Lonnie) Berger is the Director of the Institute for Research on Poverty and Vilas Distinguished Achievement Professor in the School of Social Work at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His research focuses on the ways in which economic resources, sociodemographic characteristics, and public policies affect parental behaviors and child and family wellbeing. He is engaged in studies in three primary areas: (1) examining the determinants of substandard parenting, child maltreatment, and out-of-home placement for children; (2) exploring associations among socioeconomic factors (family structure and composition, economic resources, household debt), parenting behaviors, and children’s care, development, and wellbeing; and (3) assessing the influence of public policies on parental behaviors and child and family wellbeing. To address these topics, he utilizes a variety of statistical techniques to analyze data from a range of large-scale datasets. His work aims to inform public policy in order to improve its capacity to assist families in accessing resources, improving family functioning and wellbeing, and ensuring that children are able to grow and develop in the best possible environments. This research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health (National Institute of Child Health and Human Development), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (Administration on Children and Families), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, MacArthur Foundation, Casey Family Services, Wisconsin Child Abuse and Prevention Board, and Wisconsin Department of Children and Families. 


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