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Dr. Elizabeth Jacobs is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Connecticut, where she constructs and analyzes novel data sources to study global mobility. Her research spans the areas of migration, race, gender, education and work and centers on the institutional reproduction of inequality in global contexts. In particular, she asks how institutions – state, corporate, and academic – shape the economic, social and spatial mobility of immigrants and refugees.

Liz employs novel datasets to study global mobility in longitudinal, transnational perspective. She is a research affiliate of the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, where she held a Postdoctoral Fellowship to work with a global dataset of migration histories constructed from LinkedIn to study how migration policy influences global patterns of labor market incorporation.


This work expands her mixed-methods dissertation project engages long-standing questions about skilled migration and return migration using novel data sources. She constructed a new dataset of migration histories, using employment history data from LinkedIn to study the migration behavior of skilled migrants in the United States. Specifically, examined how these flows are shaped by gender ideologies, and how public and private institutions collaborate and conflict as they shape global migration. The LinkedIn data gives purchase on studying exciting new dynamics unmeasurable in previous data, which is enriched through in-depth interviews with skilled migrants and institutional actors at universities, companies and the state.

Liz is also a research affiliate at Georgetown University's Institute for the Study of International Migration, where she previously held a Postdoctoral fellowship with joint appointments in the McCourt School of Public Policy, the Walsh School of Foreign Service and the Department of Sociology. Her ongoing collaborations with Georgetown's Forced Migration team in the Massive Data Institute

develop new computational techniques to build digital data sources to forecast refugee displacement caused by natural disaster, economic collapse and war. This work is in partnership with the United Nations High Commission on Refugees to improve official measures of refugee flows and develop timely policy responses to large-scale forced migration crises. Ultimately, she aims to develop integrated theories of migration that harmonizes the dichotomy between refugee and migrant.

Liz’s research has been published in the Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, Higher Education, Harvard Data Science Review and Frontiers in Sociology, and she currently has multiple papers under review at top-ranked journals. She has served on the multiple committees for the International Migration section of the ASA and is a professional member of the American Sociological Association, the Eastern Sociological Society, the Population Association of America, Sociologists for Women and Society, and the Law and Society Association.

Liz earned her PhD in Sociology at the University of Pennsylvania, and her M.A. in Sociology at Columbia University, where she examined the evolution of New York City's language access policy as a specific mechanism of immigrant immigration. She graduated from Penn with a B.A. in Anthropology, and wrote an honors thesis on the tensions between development and displacement in Rio de Janeiro's favelas in preparation for the 2016 Olympic Games.



Assistant Professor of Sociology, University of Connecticut



Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Postdoctoral Fellow and Research Affiliate

Georgetown University, Postdoctoral Fellow




University of Pennsylvania, Ph.D. in Sociology

Columbia University, M.A. in Sociology


University of Pennsylvania, B.A. in Anthropology

Contact Me

(610) 256-9651

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