Safety Net Use

  • Karen Jusko
  • Mark Duggan
  • Hilary Hoynes

Leaders: Mark Duggan, Hilary Hoynes, Karen Jusko

The Safety Net RG is devoted to monitoring changes in government transfers and anti-poverty programs and assessing whether they are meeting the needs of the poor. The U.S. safety net is undergoing such changes as (a) an ongoing decline in TANF cash benefits, (b) rapid increases in spending on EITC, Medicaid, Disability Insurance, Unemployment Insurance, and SNAP, and (c) a dramatic shift toward spending that favors the “working poor” over the more destitute. The CPI affiliates working within this research group are monitoring these changes, examining their implications for poverty, assessing the effectiveness of key government and nongovernment programs in reducing poverty, and modeling the costs and benefits of possible changes in policy and programs. We’ve provided a sampling here of some of this ongoing research.

Poverty Relief Project: With Kate Weisshaar, Karen Jusko uses the poverty relief ratio to evaluate the effectiveness of anti-poverty programs over time, across states, and across countries. Which state is the least effective in fighting poverty? Has the U.S. become more or less effective over time? These and other questions are answered in our latest State of the Union reports.

Long-run effects of SNAP: Have we underestimated the returns to SNAP by ignoring the long-run effects on children exposed to it in their early childhood? It’s now possible to find out.

California Welfare LaboratoryThe poverty rate in California, when measured with the Supplemental Poverty Measure, is the highest in the country. What can be done to bring that rate down? The mission of the California Welfare Laboratory is to make research on California’s welfare programs accessible to all and thus facilitate an informed discussion of what is working and what needs to be improved.

Differential EITC effects: It is often argued that early interventions have especially high payoffs.  Are the returns to the EITC indeed larger when it goes to parents with young children?

Disability and poverty: Does the federal government’s disability program reduce labor supply? Although it’s long been difficult to identify a causal effect, Mark Duggan has now found a way.

The effects of TANF: The TANF program is very decentralized and thus takes on dramatically different forms. How can we exploit that variability to find out what’s working?

Safety Net - CPI Research

Title Author Media
State of the States: Safety Net Karen Long Jusko

State of the States: Safety Net

Author: Karen Long Jusko
Publisher:
Date: 09/2015

In non-recessionary periods, the safety net provides about 38 percent of the income support needed to raise incomes up to the official poverty line. Only four states (Massachusetts, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Washington) provide more than 60 percent of the support needed.

Spatial Assimilation in U.S. Cities and Communities? Emerging Patterns of Hispanic Segregation from Blacks and Whites Daniel T. Lichter, Domenico Parisi, Michael C. Taquino

Spatial Assimilation in U.S. Cities and Communities? Emerging Patterns of Hispanic Segregation from Blacks and Whites

Author: Daniel T. Lichter, Domenico Parisi, Michael C. Taquino
Publisher: Sage Publications
Date: 07/2015

This article provides a geographically inclusive empirical framework for studying changing U.S. patterns of Hispanic segregation. Whether Hispanics have joined the American mainstream depends in part on whether they translate upward mobility into residence patterns that mirror the rest of the nation. Based on block and place data from the 1990–2010 decennial censuses, our results provide evidence of increasing spatial assimilation among Hispanics, both nationally and in new immigrant destinations. Segregation from whites declined across the urban size-of-place hierarchy and in new destinations. Hispanics are also less segregated from whites than from blacks, but declines in Hispanic-black segregation have exceeded declines in Hispanic-white segregation. This result is consistent with the notion of U.S. Hispanics as a racialized population—one in which members sometimes lack the freedom to join whites in better communities. Hispanic income was significantly associated with less segregation from whites, but income inequality alone does not explain overall Hispanic segregation, which remains high. The segmented assimilation of Hispanics that we observe supports two seemingly contradictory theories: both the idea that spatial assimilation can come from economic and cultural assimilation and the notion that economic mobility is no guarantee of residential integration.

 

The Effect of Extended Unemployment Insurance Benefits: Evidence from the 2012-2013 Phase-Out Henry S. Farber , Jesse Rothstein, Robert G. Valletta

The Effect of Extended Unemployment Insurance Benefits: Evidence from the 2012-2013 Phase-Out

Author: Henry S. Farber , Jesse Rothstein, Robert G. Valletta
Publisher: American Economic Review
Date: 05/2015

Unemployment Insurance benefit durations were extended during the Great Recession, reaching 99 weeks for most recipients. The extensions were rolled back and eventually terminated by the end of 2013. Using matched CPS data from 2008-2014, we estimate the effect of extended benefits on unemployment exits separately during the earlier period of benefit expansion and the later period of rollback. In both periods, we find little or no effect on job-finding but a reduction in labor force exits due to benefit availability. We estimate that the rollbacks reduced the labor force participation rate by about 0.1 percentage point in early 2014.

The Impact of Market Size and Composition on Health Insurance Premiums: Evidence from the First Year of the Affordable Care Act Michael J. Dickstein , Mark Duggan, Joe Orsini , Pietro Tebaldi

The Impact of Market Size and Composition on Health Insurance Premiums: Evidence from the First Year of the Affordable Care Act

Author: Michael J. Dickstein , Mark Duggan, Joe Orsini , Pietro Tebaldi
Publisher: American Economic Review
Date: 05/2015

Under the Affordable Care Act, individual states have discretion in how they define coverage regions, within which insurers must charge the same premium to buyers of the same age, family structure, and smoking status. We exploit variation in these definitions to investigate whether the size of the coverage region affects outcomes in the ACA marketplaces. We find large consequences for small and rural markets. When states combine small counties with neighboring urban areas into a single region, the included rural markets see 0.6 to 0.8 more active insurers, on average, and savings in annual premiums of between $200 and $300.

The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Program Mark Duggan, Melissa S. Kearney, Stephanie Rennane

The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Program

Author: Mark Duggan, Melissa S. Kearney, Stephanie Rennane
Publisher:
Date: 05/2015

The SSI program provides cash assistance to some of the nation’s most vulnerable elderly, blind, and disabled residents. In this paper, we briefly summarize the history of the SSI program and present descriptive evidence on caseload composition and trends. We discuss relevant conceptual issues and empirical evidence focused on four key issues. First, we describe the advantages and disadvantages of categorical eligibility requirements and we show that the SSI caseload has become increasingly comprised of difficult-to-verify conditions, namely pain and mental disabilities. Second, we describe systematic disincentives to accumulate earnings and assets inherent in the SSI program design, but emphasize that the more relevant set of questions for the SSI population are related to the full disability requirement for eligibility. Third, we describe the questions and research about long-term benefits and costs to program participants, in terms of whether the program adequately and appropriately serves the needs of disabled individuals and their family members. And fourth, we present information and evidence about program spillovers, both across programs and across federal and state levels of government. Throughout the paper we make numerous explicit references to areas where further study is warranted and open research questions remain. SSI is an important part of the U.S. safety net, but particular features of the program raise questions about whether there is a more effective way to provide income support for individuals with work-limiting disabilities and families with disabled the children. Our goal for this paper is to systematically present the issues for scholars and policy-makers to consider and explore.

safety net - CPI Affiliates

Emily Hannum's picture Emily Hannum Professor of Sociology and Education; Associate Director, Population Studies Center
Univerisity of Pennsylvania
Isabela Mares's picture Isabela Mares Professor of Political Science; Victoria Schuck Faculty Scholar
Columbia University
Jan O. Jonsson's picture Jan O. Jonsson Professor of Sociology; Official Fellow of Nuffield College, Oxford University; Director of the Swedish Level-of-Living Survey Project
Swedish Institute for Social Research
Janet Currie's picture Janet Currie Henry Putnam Professor of Economics and Public Affairs; Chair, Department of Economics; Research Associate, National Bureau of Economic Research; Director, Center for Health and Well Being
Princeton University
Jeffrey Grogger's picture Jeffrey Grogger Irving Harris Professor in Urban Policy; Research Associate, NORC
The University of Chicago

Pages

Safety Net - Other Research

Title Author Media
Immigration Enforcement and the “Chilling Effect” on Latino Medicaid Enrollment Francisco I. Padraza, Ling Zhu

Immigration Enforcement and the “Chilling Effect” on Latino Medicaid Enrollment

Author: Francisco I. Padraza, Ling Zhu
Publisher:
Date: 01/2015

Is contemporary interior immigration enforcement generating a “chilling effect” on Medicaiduse among Latinos? In the first section we theorize the “chilling effect” as a subclass of “massfeedback effects,” which we expand to include a narrative of contemporary Latino politics. In the second section we introduce the details of Secure Communities and explain how itfits in the broader development of America’s new immigration enforcement regime. The section after that describes our data, measures and methods. In addition to complimenting existing findings on the “chilling effect” of immigration enforcement, we present analyses that show patterns of heterogenous “chilling effects,” both in terms of nativity and immigrantgeneration, and across race/ethnicity and immigration status. The final section summarizes and concludes with thoughts about future research directions.

The Inverse Equity Hypothesis: Does It Apply to Coverage of Cancer Screening in Middle-Income Countries? Lee, J. T., Huang, Z., Basu, S., Millett, C.

The Inverse Equity Hypothesis: Does It Apply to Coverage of Cancer Screening in Middle-Income Countries?

Author: Lee, J. T., Huang, Z., Basu, S., Millett, C.
Publisher: BMJ Publishing Group Limited
Date: 10/2014

It is uncertain whether the inverse equity hypothesis-the idea that new health interventions are initially primarily accessed by the rich, but that inequalities narrow with diffusion to the poor-holds true for cancer screening in low and middle income countries (LMICs).This study examines the relationship between overall coverage and economic inequalities in coverage of cancer screening in four middle-income countries.Secondary analyses of cross-sectional data from the WHO study on Global Ageing and Adult Health in China, Mexico, Russia and South Africa (2007-2010). Three regression-based methods were used to measure economic inequalities: (1) Adjusted OR; (2) Relative Index of Inequality (RII); and (3) Slope Index of Inequality.Coverage for breast cancer screening was 10.5% in South Africa, 19.3% in China, 33.8% in Russia and 43% in Mexico, and coverage for cervical cancer screening was 24% in South Africa, 27.2% in China, 63.7% in Mexico and 81.5% in Russia. Economic inequalities in screening participation were substantially lower or non-existent in countries with higher aggregate coverage, for both breast cancer screening (RII: 14.57 in South Africa, 4.90 in China, 2.01 in Mexico, 1.04 in Russia) and cervical cancer screening (RII: 3.60 in China, 2.47 in South Africa, 1.39 in Mexico, 1.12 in Russia).Economic inequalities in breast and cervical cancer screening are low in LMICs with high screening coverage. These findings are consistent with the inverse equity hypothesis and indicate that high levels of equity in cancer screening are feasible even in countries with high income inequality.

 

Multiple Program Participation and the SNAP Program Robert A. Moffitt

Multiple Program Participation and the SNAP Program

Author: Robert A. Moffitt
Publisher: Russell Sage Foundation
Date: 02/2014

Receipt of benefits from other traditional transfer programs by Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) families is common, with 76 percent of those families receiving at least one other major benefit of that type, excluding Medicaid, in 2008. However, over half of these only received one other benefit and only a very small fraction received more than two others. Over the long-term, multiple benefit receipt among SNAP families has been falling, a result of declines in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) caseload offsetting rises in the Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), and Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) caseloads. Finally, this analysis shows that high marginal tax rates generated by multiple program receipt are relevant for only a small portion of the TANF caseload, namely, the portion of the caseload that is nondisabled, nonelderly, and have earnings in the phaseout regions of the programs where marginal tax rates are high. The vast majority of SNAP families are not affected and, indeed, most have sufficiently low earnings that they face negative cumulative marginal tax rates.

The Impact of Earnings Disregards on the Behavior of Low-Income Families Jordan D. Matsudaira, Rebecca M. Blank

The Impact of Earnings Disregards on the Behavior of Low-Income Families

Author: Jordan D. Matsudaira, Rebecca M. Blank
Publisher: Journal of Policy Analysis and Management
Date: 01/2014

This paper investigates the impact of changes in earnings disregards for welfare assistance received by single mothers following welfare reform in 1996. Some states adopted much higher earnings disregards (women could work full-time and still receive substantial welfare benefits), while other states did not. We explore the effect of these changes on women's labor supply and income using several data sources and multiple estimation strategies. Our results indicate these changes had little effect on labor supply or income. We show this is because surprisingly few women used the earnings disregards. We discuss several explanations for why this might occur.

Are Latino Immigrants a Burden to Safety Net Services in Non-Traditional Immigrant States? Lessons from Oregon Daniel López-Cevallos

Are Latino Immigrants a Burden to Safety Net Services in Non-Traditional Immigrant States? Lessons from Oregon

Author: Daniel López-Cevallos
Publisher: American Journal of Public Health
Date: 12/2013

The significant growth of the Latino population in the midst of an economic recession has invigorated anti-Latino, anti-immigrant sentiments in many US states. One common misconception is that Latino immigrants are a burden to safety net services. This may be particularly true in nontraditional immigrant states that have not historically served Latino immigrants. Oregon data suggest that despite a higher prevalence of poverty, use of safety net services among Latino immigrants in Oregon is lower than that among non-Latino Whites. Immigration status, costs, lack of insurance coverage, and discrimination are among the reasons for this group’s limited use of services. Nevertheless, policies designed to strengthen community and institutional support for Latino immigrant families should be considered in the context of current health care and immigration reform efforts.

Safety Net - Multimedia

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