J. Lawrence Aber is Willner Family Professor in Psychology and Public Policy at the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development, and University Professor, New York University, where he also serves as board chair of its Institute of Human Development and Social Change.
Aber earned his PhD from Yale University and an AB from Harvard University. He previously taught at Barnard College, Columbia University, and at the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University, where he also directed the National Centre for Children in Poverty.
He is an internationally recognised expert in child development and social policy and has co-edited Neighbourhood Poverty: Context and Consequences for Children (1997, Russell Sage Foundation), Assessing the Impact of September 11th 2001 on Children Youth and Parents: Lessons for Applied Developmental Science (2004, Erlbaum) and Child Development and Social Policy: Knowledge for Action (2007, APA Publications). His basic research examines the influence of poverty and violence, at the family and community levels, on the social, emotional, behavioural, cognitive and academic development of children and youth.
Aber also designs and conducts rigorous evaluations of innovative programmes and policies for children, youth and families, such as violence prevention, literacy development, welfare reform and comprehensive services initiatives. Aber testifies frequently before Congress, state legislatures and other deliberative policy forums. The media, public officials, private foundations and leading non-profit organisations also frequently seek his opinion or advice about pressing matters concerning child and family well-being. In 2006, Aber was appointed by the Mayor of New York City to the Commission for Economic Opportunity, an initiative to help reduce poverty and increase economic opportunity in New York City.
In 2007, he served as the Nannerl O. Keohane Distinguished Visiting Professor at Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In 2008 and 2009, he served part-time as Visiting Research Professor in Evidence-based Social Interventions in the Department of Social Policy and Social Work, University of Oxford. He is also Chair of the Board of Directors of the Children’s Institute, University of Cape Town; and served as consultant to the World Bank on its project, “Children and Youth in Crisis”. From 2003-2006, Aber chaired the Advisory Board, International Research Network on Children and Armed Conflict of the Social Science Research Council, in collaboration with the Special Representative to the Secretary General of the United Nations on Children and Armed Conflict and UNICEF. Currently, he conducts research on the impact of poverty and HIV/AIDS on children’s development in South Africa (in collaboration with the Human Sciences Research Council), and on school- and community-based interventions in the Democratic Republic of Congo (in collaboration with the International Rescue Committee).
His recent publications include:
- Aber, J.L., J. Lombardi, S. Klaus, and K. Campion (2013). A new global development goal for the world’s youngest children. Commentary, Institute of Medicine, Washington, DC., (link)
- Aber, J.L., Biersteker, L., Dawes, A., & Rawlings, L. (2013). Social Protection and Welfare Systems: Implications for Early Childhood Development. In Pia R. Britto, Patrice Engle, Charles Super, Lonnie Sherrod, & Nurper Ulkuer (Eds.) Fulfilling Every Child’s Potential: How Research Can Inform Global Policy. (pp 260-274). Oxford, UK: Oxford Press.
- Aber, J.L. Grannis, K.S., Owen, S., & Sawhill, I. (2013). The Social Genome Project: Middle Childhood Success and Economic Mobility. Brookings Institute. (link)
Credits to New York University
Published: 04 November 2014
Last update: 22 April 2015