Catherine Ruth Pakaluk

Catherine Ruth Pakaluk, PhD, received her doctorate in economics from Harvard University and is an associate professor of social research and economic thought in the Busch School of Business at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.

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.”

Dr. Pakaluk did her doctoral work at Harvard 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 has 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.

Her book, Hannah’s Children: The Women Quietly Defying the Birth Dearth (released March 19, 2024), tells the story of the five percent of American women who have chosen to defy the demographic norm by bearing five or more children the midst of a historic “birth dearth.” Hannah’s Children is a compelling portrait of these overlooked but fascinating mothers who, like the biblical Hannah, see their children as their purpose, their contribution, and their greatest blessing. Learn more about Hannah’s Children at

Dr. Pakaluk lives in Maryland with her husband Michael Pakaluk and eight children.

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