Elizabeth Jacobs

Elizabeth Jacobs

Doctoral Candidate in Sociology


McNeil 327


Elizabeth Jacobs is a Doctoral Candidate in the Sociology department at the University of Pennsylvania. Her research spans the areas of migration, globalization, and immigrant incorporation and centers on the global flows of people, knowledge, and culture. Liz’s current research agenda considers how state, corporate, and academic institutions enable and constrain global mobility.

Liz is conducting a mixed-methods dissertation project that aims to answer long-standing questions about skilled migration and return migration using novel data sources. She is constructing 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, she is examining 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 will then be enriched through in-depth interviews with skilled migrants and institutional actors at universities, companies and the state.

Liz earned her MA in Sociology at Columbia University, where she examined the evolution of New York City's language access policy as a specific mechanism of immigrant incorporation. She graduated from Penn with a BA in Anthropology, and wrote an honors thesis on the tensions between development and displacement in Rio's favelas in preparation for the 2016 Olympic Games. Liz’s research has been published in the Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, Higher Education, and Frontiers in Sociology.


M.A. in Sociology, Columbia University, 2015

B.A. in Anthropology, University of Pennsylvania, 2013

Research Interests

Immigration; Globalization; Race and Ethnicity; Work; Gender; Stratification; Methodology

Courses Taught

Center for Teaching and Learning Certificate obtained Fall 2019

  • Trained in pedagogical approaches; received teaching observation and feedback

Teaching experience: 

“Introduction to Sociology.” Department of Sociology, University of Pennsylvania. Summer 2020.

“Epidemics, Natural Disasters, and Geopolitics: Managing Global Business and Financial Uncertainty,” Teaching Assistant for Dr. Mauro Guillén, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. Spring 2020.

“International Political Economy,” Teaching Assistant for Drs. Mohamed El-Erian, Regina Abrami and Sudev Seth, The Lauder Institute, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. Fall 2019.

“Global and Regional Analysis,” Teaching Assistant for Dr. Regina Abrami, The Lauder Institute, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. Spring 2019.

“Globalization in Historical Perspective,” Teaching Assistant for Drs. Mauro Guillén and Brian Spooner, Departments of Sociology and Anthropology, University of Pennsylvania. Fall 2018.

“Media, Culture And Society In Contemporary China,” Teaching Assistant for Dr. Guobin Yang, Departments of Sociology and Communications, University of Pennsylvania. Spring 2018.

“Mental Illness,” Teaching Assistant for Dr. Jason Schnittker, Department of Sociology, University of Pennsylvania. Fall 2017.

“Introduction to Sociology,” Teaching Assistant for Dr. Onoso Imoagene, Department of Sociology, University of Pennsylvania. Spring 2017.

“Sociological Research Methods,” Teaching Assistant for Dr. Melissa Wilde, Department of Sociology, University of Pennsylvania. Fall 2017.

“Sociology of Work and Gender,” Grading Assistant for Dr. Teresa Sharpe, Department of Sociology, Columbia University. Spring 2015.

Selected Publications


Jacobs, Elizabeth. Forthcoming. “Work visas and return migration: How migration policy shapes global talent.” Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies.

Jacobs, Elizabeth. Forthcoming. "The homogenizing and diversifying effects of migration policy in the internationalization of higher education." Higher Education.

Jacobs, Elizabeth. 2019. “Pathways to permanence: Legal status transitions as a key mechanism in skilled migrant selection and settlement,” in “Immigration in the Global Era: Migrants and the People and Laws at Origin and Destination,” ed. Guillermina Jasso and Moshe Semyonov. Frontiers in Sociology. https://doi.org/10.3389/fsoc.2019.00044

Under Revise and Resubmit      

Jacobs, Elizabeth and Nicole Kreisberg.“The Gendered Occupational Value of a U.S. Education for Indian Immigrants." Revise and Resubmit at International Migration Review

In Progress (Manuscripts available upon request)

Jacobs, Elizabeth. “Institutional pathways and return migration among skilled migrants.”

Jacobs, Elizabeth. “Gender, migration and skill in an institutional context.”

Jacobs, Elizabeth. “Claiming a Voice in the Global City: How race, place and gender shaped immigrant coalition building in New York City’s language access movement.”

Imoagene, Onoso and Elizabeth Jacobs. “The Dark Side of a Golden Ticket: US migration policies and the experiences of lottery winners from Nigeria, Ghana and India.”


Center for Advanced Study of India

Center for the Study of Ethnicity, Race and Immigration