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
The Social Safety Net and the Great Recession Robert A. Moffitt

The Social Safety Net and the Great Recession

Author: Robert A. Moffitt
Publisher:
Date: 10/2012

As the economic downturn wears on, the debate about U.S. spending on the safety net has become increasingly rancorous. Indeed, former presidential candidate Newt Gingrich famously referred to Barack Obama as "the food stamp president" in the early-2012 campaign trail. The purpose of this recession brief is to step back from the rancor and describe in straightforward fashion how spending on the safety net has responded to the Great Recession.

Partisan Representation of the Poor: Electoral Geography, Strategic Mobilization, and Implications for Voter Turnout Karen Long Jusko

Partisan Representation of the Poor: Electoral Geography, Strategic Mobilization, and Implications for Voter Turnout

Author: Karen Long Jusko
Publisher:
Date: 01/2011

How do electoral rules affect the poor? When do parties have an incentive to stand as the party of low-income citizens? When will parties mobilize the electoral support of low-income voters? This discussion presents evidence that rates of turnout among,low-income citizens reflect legislators’ and parties’ electoral incentives to be responsive to the poor, and that these electoral incentives are determined by electoral geography – the joint geographic distribution of legislative seats and low-income voters across electoral districts. Further, this discussion demonstrates that under SMD electoral rules, low-income voters are more likely to vote in those electoral districts in which they are likely to be pivotal. By presenting a strategic mobilization account of voter turnout, this discussion breaks with current accounts of voter turnout that emphasize facilitative and motivational individual and system-level factors. Instead, this discussion argues that low-income voters’ turnout decisions, in fact, reflect parties’ electoral incentives to cultivate and mobilize a low-income constituency. 

Making Ends Meet Kathryn Edin, Laura Lein

Making Ends Meet

Author: Kathryn Edin, Laura Lein
Publisher: Russell Sage Foundation
Date: 04/1997
Getting a Job Mark Granovetter

Getting a Job

Author: Mark Granovetter
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Date: 03/1995
The Rise in Disability and the Decline in Unemployment Autor, David and Mark Duggun

The Rise in Disability and the Decline in Unemployment

Author: Autor, David and Mark Duggun
Publisher: Quarterly Journal of Economics
Date:

safety net - CPI Affiliates

Theodore R. Marmor's picture Theodore R. Marmor Professor Emeritus of Public Policy and Management & Professor Emeritus of Political Science
Yale University
Bruce D. Meyer's picture Bruce D. Meyer McCormick Foundation Professor of Public Policy; Research Associate, National Bureau of Economic Research
University of Chicago
Torben Iversen's picture Torben Iversen Harold Hitchings Burbank Professor of Political Economy; BP Centennial Professor at London School of Business
Harvard University
Daniel Bertaux's picture Daniel Bertaux Member, Centre d'etude des mouvements sociaux, Director of research, Centre national de la recherche scientifique
École des hautes Études en science sociales
Victor Fuchs's picture Victor Fuchs Henry J. Kaiser, Jr. Professor of Economics and of Health Research and Policy (Emeritus)
Stanford University

Pages

Safety Net - Other Research

Title Author Media
The Role of Shocks and Institutions in the Rise of European Unemployment: The Aggregate Evidence Olivier J. Blanchard and Justin Wolfers

The Role of Shocks and Institutions in the Rise of European Unemployment: The Aggregate Evidence

Author: Olivier J. Blanchard and Justin Wolfers
Publisher: The Economic Journal
Date:
The Wealth of Nations Adam Smith

The Wealth of Nations

Author: Adam Smith
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Date:
Hard Choices: How Women Decide about Work, Career, and Motherhood Kathleen Gerson

Hard Choices: How Women Decide about Work, Career, and Motherhood

Author: Kathleen Gerson
Publisher: University of California Press
Date:
Internal Labor Markets and Earnings Trajectories in the Post-Fordist Economy: An Analysis of Recent Trends Thomas DiPrete, Eric Maurin and Dominique Goux

Internal Labor Markets and Earnings Trajectories in the Post-Fordist Economy: An Analysis of Recent Trends

Author: Thomas DiPrete, Eric Maurin and Dominique Goux
Publisher: Social Science Research
Date:
Outsourcing at Will: The Contribution of Unjust Dismissal Doctrine to the Growth of Employment Outsourcing David H. Autor

Outsourcing at Will: The Contribution of Unjust Dismissal Doctrine to the Growth of Employment Outsourcing

Author: David H. Autor
Publisher: Journal of Labor Economics
Date:

Safety Net - Multimedia

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