Jocelyn Finlay

Visiting Scientist

Department of Global Health and Population


Jocelyn E. Finlay is a Visiting Scientist at the Department of Global Health and Population.

Dr. Finlay’s research applies methods from economics and demography study women’s economic empowerment, reproductive health, fertility and women’s labor force participation in low- and middle-income countries.

She leads a number of mixed-methods projects in sub-Saharan Africa to study how data collection and measurement of socioeconomic indicators can be gender sensitive, and how reproductive health and economic activity link to empowerment.

Her research redefines the measurement of women’s labor force participation, drawing on economic theory, current data comparisons and piloting newly developed survey modules.

In her research, she uses natural experiments to explore the long run, at-scale, impact of events (natural disasters, conflict, policy implementation) on gender roles and gender discrimination. She leads projects for development and evaluation of programs and policies for reproductive and economic empowerment.

Dr. Finlay is part of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s Committee on Population to organize a workshop on Family Planning, Women’s Empowerment, and Societal Impacts.  Dr. Finlay is co-chair of the IUSSP Population, Poverty and Inequality Scientific Panel, and organizes annual conferences. She is also part of the community of bilinguals in The GovLab’s 100 Questions Initiative to identify the top 10 questions on gender.

Dr. Finlay’s research has been published widely in top economics and public health journals. She works with knowledge facilitators at Population Reference Bureau and ShareNet International for research to policy translation.

She received her Bachelors degree in Economics from the University of Melbourne and her PhD in Economics from the Australian National University. She has worked at the Chan School since 2006.

Papers and links to research relating to fertility and work, and women’s economic empowerment.

  • Jocelyn E. Finlay. (2020) Women’s Reproductive Health and Women’s Economic Activity: A Narrative Review.  World Development. Click here.
  • Jocelyn E. Finlay and Marlene A. Lee. (2018) Identifying Causal Effects of Reproductive Health Improvements on Women’s Economic Empowerment through the Population Poverty Research Initiative. The Milbank Quarterly, 96(2), 300-22. Click here.
  • Jocelyn E. Finlay, Yvette Efevbera, Jacques Ndikubagenzi, Mahesh Karra and David Canning. (2019) Reframing the Measurement of Women’s Work in the sub-Saharan African Context. Work, Employment and Society, 33(3), 518-528. Click here.
  • David E. Bloom, David Canning, Günther Fink and Jocelyn E. Finlay. (2009) Fertility, Female Labor Force Participation, and the Demographic Dividend. Journal of Economic Growth, 14(2), 79-101. Click here.
  • Sub-Saharan Africa Field Work 


2001-2006 PhD, Economics, Australian National University, School of Economics. Thesis Title: “Endogenous Longevity and Economic Growth”

1995-2001 Bachelor of Commerce (Economics, Honors), University of Melbourne, School of Economics and Commerce.

1995-2000 Bachelor of Arts (Japanese), University of Melbourne, Faculty of Arts.