Janet Currie Awarded Klaus J. Jacobs Research Prize for Pioneering Work in Child Development

Nov. 29, 2023

CHW Co-Director Janet M. Currie, an economist at the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs, received the prestigious Klaus J. Jacobs Research Prize at a ceremony held at the University of Zurich on November 17. The prize was awarded by the Zurich, Switzerland-based Jacobs Foundation and endowed with 1 million Swiss francs.

Currie, the Henry Putnam Professor of Economics and Public Affairs with a joint appointment to the Department of Economics, was cited for her “foundational work on the influence of context such as policy decisions, environment, or health systems on child development.”

Janet Currie seated by a display about her work

“Professor Currie’s pioneering use of administrative data and natural experiments has helped advance the field of child development in unprecedented ways,” said Simon Sommer, co-chief executive officer of the Jacobs Foundation. “Her groundbreaking work has demonstrated the crucial impact of different structural, social, and environmental contextual elements on children's educational outcomes, physical, and psychological well-being.”

A pioneer in the economic analysis of child development, Currie has worked with researchers from a variety of disciplines to study the impact of preschool, public health insurance, mothers’ education, environmental hazards, and, more recently, mental health on child outcomes. Her current research focuses on socioeconomic differences in health and access to health care, environmental threats to health, the important role of mental health, and the long-run impact of health problems in pregnancy and early childhood. Currie’s trailblazing studies have demonstrated the importance of the fetal period and early childhood, along with the cost-effectiveness of early interventions during these critical life stages.

“I am extremely grateful to the Jacobs Foundation for supporting my research,” said Currie, who was recently named to the University's Industrial Relations Section. “I look forward to using the prize to continue using the tools of economic science to try to improve the lives of poor children.”

Watch a video highlighting Janet Currie's work.