Headshot of Dr. Castro Baker

Amy Beth Castro, PhD

  • Associate Professor
  • Research Interests

    Economic mobility

    Guaranteed income


    How social policies produce gender and race disparities in housing and lending

    Funded Projects

    2019-2021        West, S., & Castro Baker, A. Co-Principal Investigator. Volatility, Agency, and Health: A City-Led Guaranteed Income Experiment. Robert Wood Johnson Foundation ($690,000).

    2018-2019        West, S. & Castro Baker, A. Co-Principal Investigator. Unleashing Potential and Providing Stability in Stockton: A Mixed-Methods Exploratory Evaluation of the Stockton Economic Empowerment Demonstration. Economic Security Project ($28,000).

    2017-2022        Castro Baker, A. Principal Investigator, Economic Mobility & Working Class Families: Pascale Sykes Foundation. ($1,532,438).

    2017-2018        Castro Baker, A. Principal Investigator, & West, S. Co-Principal Investigator, Aging into Poverty: Women, Housing, and the Sandwich Generation. Asset Funders Network. ($25,000).

    Amy Castro, PhD, MSW is an Associate Professor at the University of Pennsylvania in the School of Social Policy & Practice and is the Co-Founder and faculty director of the Center for Guaranteed Income Research. Her work explores economic mobility, guaranteed income, innovation, and disparities in housing and lending. She served as the Co-PI of the Stockton Economic Empowerment Demonstration under former Mayor Michael Tubbs which, lead to a proliferation of experimentation with unconditional cash across the U.S. Dr. Castro is the Co-PI of 30 applied cash-transfer studies housed at CGIR where she currently advises more than 20 Mayoral teams, state, and county legislators on unconditional cash research. Her work on guaranteed income has been funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Hilton Foundation, the Monarch Foundation, the City of Los Angeles, LA County, the City of Newark, the Yellow Chair Foundation, the City of Oakland, the Social Impact Fund, and the Economic Security Project. Dr. Castro’s research is featured often in the popular press including the NY Times, the Washington Post, the Atlantic, the New Yorker, the Nation, the Economist, the LA Times, CNN, NBC, PBS, and National Public Radio.

    Dr. Castro is also known for her work on women and risky lending during the foreclosure crisis. She was awarded the GADE research award, the Society for Social Work and Research Outstanding Dissertation Award, and the Nina Fortin Award for her work on the gender and racial contours of predatory lending. She was the 2017 recipient of the SP2 teaching award, was a Distinguished Visiting Professor at Penn’s School of Nursing (AY 19/20), is an affiliated faculty member of the Alice Paul Center and Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies, and is a member of the LGBTQ faculty working group.  Prior to her time at Penn, she spent more than a decade working with non-profits and community-based agencies in Philadelphia and New York City. Her research has been published by Social Service Review, The Gerontologist, Social Science & Medicine, Social Work, The American Journal of Public Health and JPAM. She earned a PhD in Social Welfare and a Master of Philosophy from the City University of New York, a Master of Social Work from the University of Pennsylvania, and a Bachelor of Social Work from Cairn University.



    3701 Locust Walk
    Philadelphia, PA 19104-6214



    Standing Faculty


    MSW | MSSP | PhD

    Research Areas(s)

    Economic Security