‘My research interests lie in international economics, development, health and education,’ says Wagner. ‘I’m specifically interested in the data driven social science research in the Radboud University’s spirit of Economics+. Wagner has participated in various impact evaluation projects in Africa and Asia ranging from public health, HIV testing and counseling to support for people living with HIV as well good governance, police integrity and rural infrastructure programs. She applies experimental as well as quasi-experimental impact evaluation techniques to assess program effectiveness.
A recurring theme in Wagner’s research is gender and female empowerment, be it in her assessment of bride price payments, polygyny, female genital cutting, gender bias in teaching evaluations or of police officers. Her paper entitled " Female genital cutting and long-term health consequences -- Nationally representative estimates across 13 countries", published by the Journal of Development Studies, is the first to conduct a large-scale analysis of the harmful traditional practice female genital cutting that does not only consider health consequences but also social aspects such as marriage prospects. The paper won the Dudley Seers Memorial Prize in 2016.