Adukia will use the award to explore the effects of school disciplinary approaches on gender and racial inequality.

Harris Public Policy Assistant Professor Anjali Adukia has been selected, along with five other early career researchers, as a recipient of a 2018 William T. Grant Scholar award. The prestigious program supports the professional development of promising researchers in the social, behavioral, and health sciences who have completed their terminal degree within the past seven years.  

With her W.T. Grant Scholar award, Adukia will investigate over the next five years whether different approaches to school discipline either exacerbate or reduce racial and gender inequality in students’ behavioral and academic outcomes.

Adukia will leverage natural experiments involving disciplinary interventions in order to study the impact of these approaches and to understand the mechanisms that underlie their effects. She will also extend her prior work on educational inequality in international contexts to the U.S. by working with mentors Jon Guryan, an economist at Northwestern University and expert in school research in urban communities, and Martha Minow, a legal scholar at Harvard Law School, who will support Adukia in incorporating a legal framework into her research.

Adukia’s research is driven by her determination to understand how to reduce inequalities such that children from historically disadvantaged backgrounds have the opportunities to fully realize their potential.  In her work, she seeks to understand the factors that influence educational decision-making of children, families, and teachers in developing contexts, specifically the role of providing basic needs such as safety and health.  For example, in recent work, she examined the effects of policy initiatives to build more sanitation facilities in schools across India, and whether enhanced access and privacy contribute to greater school participation and student well-being.

“We are pleased that this year’s recipients are tackling the important inequality challenges of our times,” said Senior Vice President Vivian Tseng of the William T. Grant Foundation. “By supporting their research agendas and professional development, the program seeks to contribute to a new generation of scholars who can inform our nation’s efforts to reduce inequality in for young people.”