Visiting Scholars, 2012–2013

IRP-Supported Visiting Scholars

General Poverty Researchers from Underrepresented Groups

Juan J. DelaCruz

Juan J. DelaCruz

Juan J. DelaCruz, associate professor of economics and business at Lehman College/City University of New York, will be in residence from October 1 through 5, 2012. He will present a seminar at IRP on October 4 on "The Effect of Incarceration on HIV and Its Influence on Health-Related Disparities in New York City."

DelaCruz earned a Ph.D. in economics (2008) from the New School for Social Research and a B.A. in international relations (1998) from the National Autonomous of Mexico University. He has concentrated his research on health economics with an emphasis on HIV/AIDS and its effects on human capital, and is currently developing a new focus on the field of human resource management. Current research relates to the multifactorial aspects of the HIV epidemic in New York City (NYC) within young African-American and Hispanic males. This research aims to overcome methodological problems associated with conventional approaches and to provide policy advice leading to improve quantity and quality of life for historically underrepresented minorities.

Crystal C. Hall

Crystal C. Hall

Crystal C. Hall, assistant professor of public affairs at the University of Washington Evans School of Public Affairs, will be in residence at IRP from April 8 through 12, 2013. She will present a seminar on April 11.

Hall earned a Ph.D. in social psychology in 2008 from Princeton University. Broadly speaking, her research agenda splits into two major areas: (1) understanding the psychology and social norms associated with the social context of poverty, and (2) designing and testing psychological interventions geared at increasing take-up of and participation in beneficial programs and services geared at low-income consumers. This work is almost exclusively experimental, utilizing some simple survey methods and also larger scale field research.

To conduct her research, she has worked with several organizations serving low-income populations, including the United Way of King County (in Seattle), the Seattle Housing Authority, and the Campaign for Working Families in Philadelphia, PA. The bulk of her field research consists of studies exploring decision making at tax time by low-income consumers, choices about housing for subsidy recipients. The overall goal of this work is to better inform the way that policymakers and advocates design and implement policies and programs geared at this group.

Damon Jones

Damon Jones

Damon Jones, assistant professor, Harris School of Public Policy, University of Chicago, will be in residence at IRP from October 22 through 26, 2012.

Jones earned a Ph.D. in economics in 2009 from the University of California at Berkeley. He is an assistant professor in the Harris School of Public Policy Studies at the University of Chicago; research associate of the Population Research Center, National Opinion Research Center (NORC), University of Chicago; and faculty research fellow, National Bureau of Economic Research. From 2009 to 2010 he was a postdoctoral fellow at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.

He conducts research at the intersection of public finance, household finance, and behavioral economics. In many studies, he takes as a primary focus the decisions of low-income households. In one line of research he examines how the timing of income taxation affects household income flows and by extension household consumption patterns and financial decisions. These findings are in turn used to create standard models of decision-making, such as permanent income hypothesis (theory that consumption decisions are made on the basis of permanent income changes rather than temporary income changes), in relation to alternative models from the behavioral economics literature.

Bryan L. Sykes

Bryan L. Sykes

Bryan L. Sykes will be in residence at IRP from December 3 through 7, 2012, and will present a seminar at IRP on December 6 on "Out of Jail and Off the Books: Employment and Child Support Arrangements among Former Inmates."

Sykes earned a joint Ph.D. in sociology and demography from the University of California-Berkeley in 2007. He is an assistant professor of sociology at DePaul University in Chicago and a research affiliate of the Center for Demography and Ecology at UW–Madison. From 2009 to 2011 he was a National Science Foundation postdoctoral fellow, focused on the relationship between crime and residential segregation in the Department of Sociology at the University of Washington.

His research focuses on understanding the causes of post-1990s crime decline, the distribution and lifetime risk of incarceration, and the effects of incarceration on family formation. Individually, these bodies of work indicate how mass incarceration has affected the demographic and economic lives of many Americans. Collectively, his research uncovers new insights into the changing and persisting nature of poverty and social inequality in America. Current work explores the labor market opportunities available to former inmates. Using data from the Fragile Families and Well-Being Study, he investigates how and where former inmates find employment, estimating the likelihood of working off the books and quantifying earnings from the underground economy.

Food Assistance Researchers

Daniel P. Miller

Daniel Miller

Daniel P. Miller, an assistant professor of human behavior in the Boston University School of Social Work, will be in residence from April 13 through 19, 2013. He will present a seminar on April 18.

Miller earned a Ph.D. with distinction in social policy and policy analysis from the Columbia University School of Social Work in 2009. His research and practice interests include child obesity and the effects of the environment on racial and ethnic disparities in rates of overweight and obesity; the intersection of developmental science and social policy; and father involvement and child outcomes. He maintains an interdisciplinary research focus, although his over-abiding interest is in the health and well-being of children and families. He is committed to maintaining his focus on child health by expanding his focus on child food insecurity and food assistance programs.

Miller is a co-principal investigator of a grant, Nonresident Fathers' Involvement and Welfare Policies: Impacts on Childhood Hunger, which has been funded by the University of Kentucky Center for Poverty Research. Two specific projects funded by the grant are a paper, which takes the novel approach of using multiple datasets to examine whether the prevalence of child food insecurity differs by family structure (two biological parent, single biological mother, cohabiting biological parent, and repartnered biological mother), and how rates of food insecurity change by child age. The second is a paper extending this first effort using growth curve modeling to examine how changes in family structure affect the food insecurity of children in middle to late childhood.

Taryn W. Morrissey

Taryn Morrissey

Taryn W. Morrissey, an assistant professor in the Department of Public Administration and Policy at American University, will be in residence from March 11 through 15, 2013. She will present a seminar on March 14.

Morrissey earned a Ph.D. in developmental psychology from Cornell University in 2008, with a minor in social and health systems planning. She was a 2008 to 2009 American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)/Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD) Congressional Fellow, and was subsequently hired as a Health Policy Advisor on the staff of the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, first for Senator Edward Kennedy and then for Senator Tom Harkin. Morrissey worked primarily on federal health reform legislation, particularly child and maternal health and workforce issues.

Morrissey is interested in the social and economic determinants of children's health and development. Two key areas of focus are the macro- and family-level processes and characteristics that affect children's physical development. At the macro level, her ongoing research, funded by an IRP RIDGE Center grant, examines how local food prices affect young children's body mass index (BMI), eating habits, and food insecurity, and the role that public food assistance plays in exacerbating or mitigating these effects. In related collaborative work also funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, she investigates the neighborhood- and family-level predictors of entry into and exit from food insecurity among children prior to entering elementary school.

Self-Supported Researchers

Shatakshee Dhongde

Shatakshee DhongdeShatakshee Dhongde, assistant professor of economics at Georgia Tech, will be in residence from March 18 through 22, 2013. She will present a brownbag seminar on “Measuring Multidimensional Poverty in the U.S.” on March 20 in Room 3470 in the Sewell Social Sciences Building.

Dhongde obtained her Ph.D. from the University of California, Riverside in 2005 and was an Assistant Professor at the Rochester Institute of Technology, NY. Her research analyzes globalization and its impact on economic growth, poverty, inequality, and segregation. She is a part of a Georgia Tech multidisciplinary research team at which is developing models to study the effect of socio-economic factors affecting terrorism. Her work has been published in leading economics journals, including the Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, the Review of Income and Wealth and World Development.

Amy Goldstein

Amy GoldsteinAmy Goldstein is a staff writer for the Washington Post, where she writes nationally about social policy issues. Her pieces focus on health care reform, Medicare and Medicaid, Social Security, welfare, housing, and the strains placed on the social safety net by the recent recession. During more than two decades at the Post, she has covered the White House and other notable news events of recent times, from the Monica Lewinsky scandal to the Columbine shootings to the past four Supreme Court nominations.

She is on a leave from The Post to work on a Middletown-like project, exploring the effects of long-term unemployment on Janesville, WI—a small industrial city that bears the kind of economic bruises the recent recession has left on communities across the United States. Her central question: When jobs go away, what happens then? She is using an approach that marries narrative journalism with original quantitative research, illuminating the day-to-day consequences of vanished jobs on people and the place where they live. How has the recent economic crisis affected job retraining, access to health care, mental health, family relationships, growing up and coming of age, economic development, political alignment, and more?

Goldstein was part of a team of Washington Post reporters awarded the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for national reporting for the newspaper's coverage of 9/11 and the government's response to the attacks. She was also a 2009 Pulitzer Prize finalist for national reporting for an investigative series she co-wrote on the medical treatment of immigrants detained by the federal government. Goldstein spent 2011–12 as a fellow at Harvard's Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. She is a public policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and a visiting research professor at the Georgetown Public Policy Institute. She holds an AB in American Civilization from Brown University and was a 2005 Nieman Fellow at Harvard University.

Read Goldstein's article about her Janesville study on the ProPublica website: "Rare Agreement: Obama, Romney, Ryan All Endorse Retraining for Jobless—But Are They Right?" October 10, 2012