Elizabeth Jacobs

Elizabeth Jacobs

Postdoctoral Fellow, Georgetown University


McNeil 327


Elizabeth Jacobs is a Postdoctoral Fellow at Georgetown University's McCourt School of Public Policy, where she has joint appointments at the Institute for the Study of International Migration, the Massive Data Institute and the Department of Sociology. She earned her PhD from Penn Sociology in Spring 2021. 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.

At Georgetown, she is part of the Forced Migration team, working on an interdisciplinary project to develop methods and approaches for using big data in conjunction with traditional administrative and survey data to understand and forecast the mass movement of people forced to migrate.

Liz's 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 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; Education; Stratification; Computational Methods; Qualitative Methods

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 Session I 2020.

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

Workshop Facilitator.

“Racial Bias in Algorithms.” Massive Data Institute, McCourt School of Public Policy, Georgetown University. Fall 2021

“Data-Driven Policy Design and Analysis.” Massive Data Institute, McCourt School of Public Policy, Georgetown University. Fall 2021

“Demographic Inference in Social Media Data.” Massive Data Institute, McCourt School of Public Policy, Georgetown University. Spring 2021

Teaching Assistant. 

“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. https://doi.org/10.1080/1369183X.2020.1857232

Jacobs, Elizabeth. Forthcoming. "The homogenizing and diversifying effects of migration policy in the internationalization of higher education." Higher Education. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10734-020-00658-4

Donato, Katharine, Lisa Singh, Ali Arab, Elizabeth Jacobs and Douglas Post. Forthcoming. “Migration Misinformation in Spanish-Language Tweets During a Pandemic.” International Organization for Migration Research Series.

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

Revise and Resubmit

Jacobs, Elizabeth. “How Skilled Migrants Enter and Stay in the U.S. Labor Market.” R&R at Social Forces.

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

Donato, Katharine, Lisa Singh, Ali Arab, Elizabeth Jacobs and Douglas Post. “Migration, Misinformation and the Venezuelan Refugee Crisis." R&R at Harvard Data Science Review.

Under Review  

Jacobs, Elizabeth. “Migrant Careers in Transnational Perspective: International Work Experience and Career Mobility in the U.S. and Indian Labor Markets.”

Maitland, Carleen, Nasim Motalebi, Elizabeth Jacobs and Lisa Singh. “Humanitarian-Development Coherence: Organizational Strategies for Long-Term Impact in Refugee Response.”

In Progress (Manuscripts available upon request)

Jacobs, Elizabeth and Katharine Donato. “The Gendered Career Trajectories of Skilled Migrants.”

Jacobs, Elizabeth. “Migration Data in Global Perspective: Designing Data for Two-Way Traffic.”

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.”

Jacobs, Elizabeth. “National Borders in Digital Space.”

Jacobs, Elizabeth. “Algorithmic Bias, Fairness and Equity in Racial Outcomes.”

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.”


Georgetown University, McCourt School of Public Policy and Walsh School of Foreign Service

Postdoctoral Fellow

Massive Data Institute; Institute for Study of International Migration; Sociology Department

University of Pennsylvania, Department of Sociology


Center for Advanced Study of India; Center for the Study of Ethnicity, Race and Immigration