Lawrence (Lonnie) Berger is Director of the Institute for Research on Poverty and Professor and PhD Chair in the School of Social Work at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His research focuses on the ways in which economic resources, sociodemographic characteristics, and public policies affect parental behaviors and child and family wellbeing. He is engaged in studies in three primary areas: (1) examining the determinants of substandard parenting, child maltreatment, and out-of-home placement for children; (2) exploring associations among socioeconomic factors (family structure and composition, economic resources, household debt), parenting behaviors, and children's care, development, and wellbeing; and (3) assessing the influence of public policies on parental behaviors and child and family wellbeing. To address these topics, he utilizes a variety of statistical techniques to analyze data from a range of large-scale datasets. His work aims to inform public policy in order to improve its capacity to assist families in accessing resources, improving family functioning and wellbeing, and ensuring that children are able to grow and develop in the best possible environments. This research has largely been funded by the National Institutes of Health (National Institute of Child Health and Human Development), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (Administration on Children and Families), Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, and MacArthur Foundation.
Berger received a B.A. from Rutgers University in 1993, an M.S.W. from the Hunter College School of Social Work in 1997, and a Ph.D. in Social Work from Columbia University in 2002.