Jessica Welburn Paige

Jessica Welburn Paige
Behavioral/Social Scientist; Professor of Policy Analysis, Pardee RAND Graduate School
Washington Office


M.A. in sociology, Harvard University; B.A. in sociology, University of Pennsylvania; Ph.D. in sociology, Harvard University


Jessica Welburn Paige is a social scientist at RAND and a professor of policy analysis at the Pardee RAND Graduate School. Her research interests include race and ethnicity, social mobility, culture, and qualitative methods. Her research has explored how African Americans navigate racism and discrimination and how they think about social mobility in the Post-Civil Rights Era. She is completing a book manuscript titled Die Hard City: Public Sector Contraction and the Experiences of African Americans in Detroit (under contract with Columbia University Press). Since starting at RAND in 2021, Paige’s work has focused on a number of issues related to dimensions of inequality including reparations policies for African Americans, attitudes and experiences of active duty service members and veterans, and the relationship between employment and having a criminal record. She earned her Ph.D. in sociology from Harvard University.

Previous Positions

Assistant Professor of Sociology and African American Studies, University of Iowa; President's Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Michigan


  • Personal Wealth

    To Help African Americans Gain Generational Wealth, Look to the Housing Market

    African American families have significantly less wealth than White families, even after reaching the middle class. Home ownership is, for the vast majority of Americans, the primary vehicle for accruing wealth, and passing it down through generations. This is a crucial time for policymakers to consider policies that focus on improving home ownership rates for African Americans.

    Dec 7, 2022

    The RAND Blog