In 1996, Professor Garfinkel, in conjunction with his wife, Sara McLanahan, the William S. Tod Professor of Sociology and Public Affairs at Princeton University. initiated the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study. Nearly 5,000 children in 20 large American cities were enrolled in the study at birth and are now adolescents.recent study found that harsh parenting increased in the wake of the Great Recession.

Professor Garfinkel received his Ph.D. from the University of Michigan. A social worker and an economist by training, he has authored or co-authored over 200 scientific articles and 16 books and edited volumes on poverty, income transfers, program evaluation, single parent families and child support, and the welfare state, including, most recently, Wealth and Welfare States: Is America Laggard or Leader?