Dr. Lauen’s work seeks to understand the effects of educational policies, school types, and school contextual factors on student outcomes. He focuses on areas that policymakers can control and that have high relevance to current educational policy debates. To date his academic research covers four areas: 1) classroom poverty composition, 2) educational accountability, 3) performance incentives, and 4) school choice. Sociological and economic theory and policy relevance guide his work, which employs rigorous quantitative research designs. His work often examines the heterogeneity of effects across socially, economically, and educationally disadvantaged student subgroups because reducing educational inequality depends on whether policies and settings have differential effects on disadvantaged and minority students.