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The Ruth Institute Podcast

May 10, 2024

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In an age where many women have decided that having children is not worth it, there are women all around the country who have decided to have more children. Catherine Pakaluk, an economist and director of Social Research at the Catholic University, recently asked the question why do these women decide to have more children? She traveled across the country and spoke with 55 women, all of whom had 5 or more children, to find out why they decided to have more children. Her new book, "Hannah's Children: the Women Quietly Defying the Birth Dearth," contains her research and stories of the women she interviewed. And you can enter to win one of five autographed copies of the book, for free! Just send an email to before May 16th at 12 PM Central to be entered to win. 


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Catherine Ruth Pakaluk (Ph.D, 2010) joined the faculty at the Busch School in the summer of 2016, and is the founder of the Social Research academic area, where she is an Associate Professor of Social Research and Economic Thought. Formerly, she was Assistant Professor and Chair of the Economics Department at Ave Maria University. Her primary areas of research include economics of education and religion, family studies and demography, Catholic social thought and political economy. Dr. Pakaluk is the 2015 recipient of the Acton Institute’s Novak Award, a prize given for “significant contributions to the study of the relationship between religion and economic liberty.”


Pakaluk did her doctoral work at Harvard University under Caroline Hoxby, David Cutler, and 2016 Nobel-laureate Oliver Hart. Her dissertation, “Essays in Applied Microeconomics”, examined the relationship between religious ‘fit' and educational outcomes, the role of parental effort in observed peer effects and school quality, and theoretical aspects of the contraceptive revolution as regards twentieth century demographic trends.   


Beyond her formal training in economics, Dr. Pakaluk studied Catholic social thought under the mentorship of F. Russell Hittinger, and various aspects of Thomistic thought with Steven A. Long. She is a widely-admired writer and sought-after speaker on matters of culture, gender, social science, the vocation of women, and the work of Edith Stein. She lives in Maryland with her husband Michael Pakaluk and eight children.


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