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Mary Eschelbach Hansen

Professor Department of Economics

Mary Eschelbach Hansen is an expert in U.S. social policy. She is widely published in the fields of child policy, bankruptcy, and economic history. Her work addresses key issues in race, gender, and economic inequality. Her research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, and the Institute for New Economic Thinking. She has been quoted or cited by news outlets including WAMU, The Economist, Fortune, CNN, and the LA Times. She has given public testimony before the DC City Council and in Federal District Court.


PhD, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Favorite Spot on Campus
My office!

Download CV (PDF)

CAS - Economics
Kreeger - 127
Check home page for office hours
Contact Info
(202) 885-3793 (Office)

Send email to Mary Eschelbach Hansen

For the Media
To request an interview for a news story, call AU Communications at 202-885-5950 or submit a request.
See Also
Department of Economics
Mary Hansen's AU Home Page
Sample of Historical Bankruptcy Cases


Scholarly, Creative & Professional Activities

Media Appearances

Washington Post, October 19, 2008: “Despite a Tragedy, Adoption Aid Remains Crucial.”

WAMU’s Metro Connection, October 10, 2008: “DC Remembers 1929.”

AARP’s Inside E Street, December 12, 2008: “Jobs Wanted: For Hire,” Segment: “Looking to the Past.”

The Economist, February 25, 2010: “Protecting the Weakest: Recession May Hurt America’s Vulnerable Children.”

Featured by Metro Connection/WAMU, Radio, “Changing Adoption Laws,” December 10, 2010.

Fortune, “Fast food worker strikes: After two years is there anything to show?” September 4, 2014.

CNN, “Is child poverty inevitable?” November 4, 2014.

LA times, “Obama pushes paid sick/family leave for workers,” January 16, 2015., "The Restaurtant Doodle That Launched a Political Movement," May 30, 2017.

WalletHub, "2017's States with the Most Underprivileged Children," August 9, 2017., "The Republican Tax Plan Raises Taxes on Famlies Who Adopt Children," November 3, 2017.

Wall Street Journal, "House Bill Would Strip Adoption Tax Credit," November 7, 2017.

Editorial, Inside Higher Ed, "Responding to the New Title IX Guidelines," November 28, 2017.



Testimony before the Council of the District of Columbia, Committee on Human Services, Hearing on Extending Adoption and Guardianship Subsidies Until Age 21 and Expanding Guardianship Subsidies to Non-Kin, December 12, 2008, and March 4, 2010.

Testimony before the Federal District Court of Rhode Island re: Cassie M. v. Chaffee, December 9, 2013. See coverage in The Providence Journal, December 10, 2013.


Selected Publications

Bankrupt in America: A History of Consumers, Businesses, their Creditors, and the Law in the Twentieth Century, (with Bradley A. Hansen), University of Chicago Press, under contract.

The Standard of Proof in the Substantiation of Child Abuse and Neglect” (with Nicholas Kahn and Josh Gupta-Kagan), Journal of Empirical Legal Studies 14, 2(June 2017), pp. 333-369.

Self-Identity and the Lesbian Earnings Differential in the U.S.” (with Michael E. Martell), Review of Social Economy 75, 2(June 2017), pp. 159-180.

Credit Relationships and Business Bankruptcy during the Great Depression” (with Nicholas L. Ziebarth), AEJ: Macroeconomics 9, 2(April 2017), pp. 228-255.

The Historian’s Craft and Economics” (with Bradley A. Hansen), Journal of Institutional Economics 12, 2(April 2016), pp. 349-370.

Crisis and Bankruptcy: The Mediating Role of State Law, 1920-1932” (with Bradley Hansen), Journal of Economic History 72, 3(September 2012), pp. 448-468.

The Distribution of a Federal Entitlement: The Case of Adoption AssistanceJournal of Socio-Economics 37, 6(December 2008), pp. 2427-2442.

The Value of Adoption,” Adoption Quarterly 10, 2(September 2008), pp. 65-87.

The Economics of Adoption from Foster Care” (with Bradley Hansen), Child Welfare 85, 3(May/June 2006), pp. 559-583.

New Evidence on Race Discrimination under ‘Separate but Equal’” (with Bradley Hansen), Essays in Economic and Business History 24, 1(2006), pp. 120-132.  

AU Expert

Area of Expertise:

bankruptcy, child welfare policies, personal finance, women and economics, minimum wage

Additional Information:

Hansen is widely published in the fields of child welfare policy and economic history. Her research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, and the Institute for New Economic Thinking.

Media Relations
To request an interview please call AU Media Relations at 202-885-5950 or submit an interview request form.