Jayanti Owens joined the faculty at Brown University in 2015 as an assistant professor of sociology and international and public affairs and as an affiliate of the Population Studies and Training Center. In 2016 she was named the Mary Tefft and John Hazen White, Sr. Assistant Professor of International and Public Affairs and Sociology. Broadly, her research focuses on the causes of gender, racial/ethnic, and immigrant educational and labor market inequality. Her current research addresses three puzzles: The growing, female-favoring gender gap in educational attainment in the United States; a growing disparity in parents' and teachers' perceptions of boys' and girls' childhood behavior problems across cohorts, and; the uneven educational and career penalties associated with males' and females' behavior problems.
In a related project, Owens investigates social and medical explanations for the rise in diagnosed prevalence of behavioral disorders such as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) among youth in the United States. She also uses a counterfactual framework to examine cohort, racial/ethnic, and gender differences in the effects of ADHD diagnosis and treatment on later well-being and educational and labor market outcomes. Owens' work has appeared in journals such as Sociology of Education, Social Science Research, Ethnic and Racial Studies, and Sociology of Religion.
Owens received a joint Ph.D. in sociology and demography from Princeton University (2013) and was a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health & Society Scholar at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (2013-2015).