Center for Studies in Demography and Ecology

Martina Morris

Professor, Sociology and Statistics
University of Washington
206-685-3402 Box: 354322


CSDE Research Areas:

In the News:

Economic inequality, social statistics, sexual networks and HIV/AIDS.

Martina Morris is the Blumstein-Jordan professor of sociology and statistics at the University of Washington. Over the past three years, she has worked on three longstanding research interests: the demographic epidemiology of HIV, trends in earnings inequality, and innovative statistical methodology for demographic research.

Morris’ HIV related research is now internationally recognized. She was one of the pioneers in the field of network epidemiology, and her recent research remains at the forefront of the field. In a series of recent papers, she has documented the importance of concurrent partnerships in amplifying the transmission dynamics of HIV, quantified the impact of date measurement error in survey estimates of concurrency, and used microsimulation to estimate the impact of concurrency on HIV transmission in Uganda. Morris specializes in the development of statistical methodology for estimating epidemiologically critical network parameters from “local network” study designs. Local network studies use traditional sample survey techniques, enrolling randomly selected respondents, and asking them to report on their partner’s attributes and behaviors. This approach is much less expensive and intrusive than other network study designs that require eliciting, tracing, and enrolling partners. Morris organized an international conference on demographic network survey design in February 2000, sponsored by the IUSSP.

Morris’ work on inequality is also well recognized. She and her colleagues have just completed a five-year project comparing long-term economic mobility for white men before and after the economic restructuring of the 1980s and 1990s. Using the two cohorts of the NLS, they are the first to have documented that the growing inequality in cross-sectional earnings distributions is being driven by a growing segregation of wage profiles, and a greater “stickiness” in low-wage careers. Their findings are contained in the recently published book Divergent Paths (2001). This project also resulted in a number of careful detailed analyses that challenged conventional wisdom regarding trends in job instability, the quality of the NLS data, and the relative size of transient and permanent variation in age-earnings profiles.

In the course of this substantive research, Morris has also developed new statistical methodology in a number of areas. She has developed extensions to generalized linear models for local network analysis and innovative epidemiologically relevant network summary measures. With Mark Handcock, she has developed a new statistical framework for distributional comparison, published as a book, Relative Distribution Methods in the Social Sciences (1999).