Cathleen Zick
  • Adjunct Professor, Economics Department
  • Professor Emeritus, Family And Consumer Studies

Research Summary

Dr. Zick is a family economist whose work focuses on how economic factors shape household members' time allocation and family well-being. Much of her research uses quantitative methods and emphasizes the public policy implications of her findings.


  • BS, Development, Resource, and Consumer Economics, University of California, Davis
  • MS, Consumer Economics, Cornell University. Project: Time Allocation Decisions of Husbands and Wives
  • Ph.D., Consumer Economics, Cornell University. Project: Human Capital Investments in a Family Portfolio Context


Cathleen D. Zick is a family and consumer economist interested in household time allocation, household structure and economic well-being, and family/consumer policy. She has taught a number of different classes over the past 34 years including: Family Economic Resources (FCS 3450), Consumers, Markets and Government (FCS 3450/5440), Family Policy (FCS 6200), Research Methods (FCS 3200), and Families and Economic Policy (FCS 6400/5400). Her current courses are Program and Policy Evaluation (FCS/PUPBL/PADMN 6563) and Families, Consumers, and Health (FCS 5430).

Dr. Zick's is part of an interdisciplinary team that includes Drs. Kowaleski-Jones (PI), Smith, Hanson, and Brown, that recently received funding from NIDDK to assess the relative roles of family and neighborhood characteristics on type 2 diabetes risk.  With support from the Noorda Foundation, she is also working with Drs. Kowaleski-Jones (PI), Waitzman, and Magill on an intervention designed to improve the receipt of EITC benefits among low income families in Utah.  Her work with Drs. Kowaleski-Jones, Fan, Smith, Hanson, and Brown on the neighborhood correlates of obesity risk has previously been funded by NIDDK. 

Areas of past research include (1) assessing the economic value of household work and its implications for housework and family child care, (2) examining how later-life events (e.g., death of a spouse, health events) affect investment and retirement planning (funded by NIA), and (3) determining the impact of regulation/deregulation on consumer welfare.

Dr. Zick's work has been published in such journals as, Pediatrics, Social Science and Medicine, Health AffairsEthnicity and Health, International Journal of Obesity, American Journal of Preventive Medicine, Youth and Society, Public Health Nutrition, Demography, The Journal of Consumer Affairs, Journal of Marriage and the Family, Journal of Gerontology: Social Sciences, Social Science Research, and the Journal of Family and Economic Issues. She serves on the editorial boards of Journal of Marriage and Family and the Journal of Consumer Affairs.

From 1997 to 2005, Dr. Zick was chair of the Department of Family and Consumer Studies.  From 2005-2012, she directed the Master in Public Policy program.  From 2014 to 2020, she was associate dean in the College of Social and Behavioral Science.  She served on the Board of Directors for the American Council on Consumer Interests (ACCI) from 1990-92 and again in 2000-2002.  From 2005-2008, she was the President-Elect, President, and Past-President of ACCI.  In 2003, she was the recipient of the College of Social and Behavioral Science Superior Research Award.  In 1992 she was the recipient of the College of Social and Behavioral Science Superior Teaching Award.  In 2021 she recieved the University of Utah's Distinguished Service Award.