Department of Sociology

Denisse Gelber

PhD Candidate, The University of Texas at Austin

Denisse Gelber



Social stratification, Poverty, Education, Transition to adulthood, Social Policies


Denisse Gelber is a Phd. Candidate from the Sociology Department at UT-Austin (Graduation in August, 2014). , Her research interests include inequality, poverty, transition to adulthood and social policies, with a special focus in Chile, Mexico and Uruguay.

For her BA thesis (Universidad Católica del Uruguay, 2005), she analyzed educational paths during Middle School in Uruguay among low SES teenagers, based on interviews with teenagers, their mothers, school principals and local NGO staff. Following this research line, her Master's thesis (UT-Austin, 2009) explored the relationship between friendship paths and educational paths for the same population, analyzing differences by gender with a mixed-method approach.

For her dissertation, she explores and describes the transition from school to work, a crucial stage in the reproduction of poverty, among long-term Conditional Cash Transfer (CCTs) beneficiaries.  CCTs may contribute in the transition from school to work either by promoting the investment in human capital through conditionalities and grants; or by providing access to employment  and employability programs. To account for these differential CCT approaches, she considers the Latin American emblematic examples of each, namely, Oportunidades and Chile Solidario. While Oportunidades is a pioneer CCT and is strictly focused on human capital investment (without connection with the labor market), Chile Solidario is the regional CCT that offers greater connections with social programs, including employment. From an assets-vulnerability and structure of opportunities approach (Kaztman, 1999), she evidences  the aspects that affect youth transition, considering three categories of the transition: ‘not started’ transition (full-time students and disaffiliated youth), youth ‘in transition’ (part-time students and workers; unemployed and, full-time workers in unprotected jobs) and, ‘completed transition’ (full-time workers in protected jobs). Due to the research exploratory-descriptive approach, she applies mixed-methods analyzing CCTs’ surveys (Panel Chile Solidario for Chile and ENCELURB for Mexico) and in-depth interviews with long-term young beneficiaries, their mothers (cash recipients) and CCTs officials, restricting the analysis to urban areas.


2010. Denisse Gelber. “Trayectorias de riesgo, éxito y abandono en Ciclo Básico en Uruguay”, Revista Páginas en Educación Nro 3. Universidad Católica del Uruguay, Montevideo.

 2012 Leticia Marteleto, Denisse Gelber, Celia Hubert, Viviana Salinas. “Educational Inequalities among Latin American Adolescents: Continuities and Changes over the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s”, Research in Social Stratification and Mobility, Volume 30, Issue 3, September 2012, Pags 352-375, ISSN 0276-5624, 10.1016/j.rssm.2011.12.003.


2012. Denisse Gelber, Cecilia Rossel. “Structural Origins of Today’s Youth Poverty and Inequality in Youth Transitions: the Emblematic Case of Uruguay”. Global Education  Magazine, Issue Number 1.


Curriculum Vitae

Profile Pages

  • Department of Sociology

    The University of Texas at Austin
    305 E 23rd St, A1700
    CLA 3.306
    Austin, TX 78712-1086