Conferences

Since its inception in 1966, IRP has regularly held conferences that bring together leading scholars engaged in poverty research. These conferences are generally multidisciplinary and often include academics, students, policymakers, and practitioners. The discussions lead to broader dissemination designed to share findings with other academics, policymakers, practitioners, journalists, and the general public.

IRP often disseminates conference findings in books, special issues of leading journals, Focus, or Fast Focus. One such example is a set of books published every decade since 1977. Each volume results from a major IRP conference at which leading scholars summarize the state of the literature in poverty research and policy evaluation in a manner that is accessible to a range of readers. The “Poverty Volumes” (the most recent of which, Changing Poverty, Changing Policies, was published in 2009) review what has been accomplished and identify remaining gaps in knowledge. They are widely used in undergraduate and graduate classrooms as well as by congressional staff and journalists.

Some of the Institute’s conferences are public, some are by invitation only. If you would like more information about any of the conferences listed below, please contact Dana Connelly.

Listing of Major IRP Conferences, 1966–2016

Spring 2016
Intergenerational Transmission of Poverty: Research on the Early Years of Life

IRP will hold a major multidisciplinary research conference focused on the "Intergenerational Transmission of Poverty: Research on the Early Years of Life" in the spring of 2016. The conference will focus on programs to reduce the intergenerational transmission of poverty and will bring together scholars and policymakers. The scholars will represent a variety of disciplines, including sociology, economics, psychology, education, public health, and social work, who study how programs and policies affect child and family well-being as well as the intergenerational transmission of poverty.

One set of discussions will examine the effects of parental income, employment, and conditional cash-transfer programs for family and child well-being. A second set of discussions will consider the effects of public-health-related interventions such as publicly funded health insurance, prenatal programs, and home visiting programs. A third set of discussions will consider early education programs and include new approaches to early care and education-quality-improvement initiatives.

The second part of the conference will comprise a set of panels that are more directly policy-relevant, with sessions on topics such as home visiting, early education, and prenatal care. IRP faculty affiliates Katherine Magnuson, Jason Fletcher, and Barbara Wolfe are co-organizing the meeting.

August 2015
Economic Causes and Consequences of Child Maltreatment Workshop & Doris Duke Fellows Pre-Workshop Session

The Economic Causes and Consequences of Child Maltreatment Workshop will empirically address the causal role of income and material resources in child maltreatment behaviors or involvement in the child welfare system at any level. In addition, presentations will explore the role of prevention in mediating the effects of poverty on child maltreatment behaviors or involvement with child welfare services; and the effects of maltreatment, child protective services involvement, and/or foster care placement on later educational, employment, and other economic outcomes. The workshop will be preceded by a session during which the ongoing research of Doris Duke Fellows will be discussed. Kristen Slack, Lawrence Berger, and Jennifer L. Noyes are co-organizers of the event and co-editors of a conference volume. Support for the event is being provided by the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago.

July 2014
Building Human Capital and Economic Potential

This major multidisciplinary research and policy conference will focus on enhancing understanding of how policies and programs can build economic self-sufficiency by increasing labor market skills, employment, wages, and earnings. Timothy M. Smeeding and Carolyn Heinrich are co-organizers of the conference as well as of IRP's major research initiative on this topic. With funding from the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the conference will be jointly convened by IRP and the Center for Health and Social Policy and the Ray Marshall Center for the Study of Human Resources at the University of Texas at Austin.

September 2013
Five Decades of Food Stamps (SNAP), Washington, DC

Thumbnail: SNAP Matters: How Food Stamps Affect Health and Well-Being, Stanford pressA conference volume based on an event at which scholars and policymakers examined "Five Decades of Food Stamps (SNAP)" that took place in Washington, DC, in September 2013 will be available in November 2015 from Stanford University Press. The event marked the 50th anniversary of the Food Stamp Program, now called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which was signed into law on August 31, 1964. Top scholars examined the program's growth and effects as suggested by social science research. Former IRP Director Timothy Smeeding and IRP RIDGE Center for National Research Director Judith Bartfeld planned the research and policy event in conjunction with Director of the University of Kentucky Center for Poverty Research James Ziliak. The latest research on a variety of food assistance program-related topics—including SNAP, health, and nutrition; SNAP and the non-food safety net; and SNAP and School nutrition programs—was presented and discussed. Support for the conference is provided by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Ford Foundation, University of Kentucky Center for Poverty Research, and the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

July 2013
Family Complexity, Poverty, and Public Policy

Annals Cover July 2014

Convened in Madison on July 11 and 12, 2013, the Family Complexity, Poverty, and Public Policy conference was motivated by the dramatic changes in family life that have occurred in the United States over the past 50 years. Leading social scientists, along with federal and state policymakers and practitioners, explored one of the most important changes: a sharp increase in family complexity, owing to high rates of cohabitation, nonmarital childbearing, divorce, and repartnering in the context of ongoing fertility. Marcia Carlson and Daniel R. Meyer co-organized the conference as well as IRP's major research initiative on this topic. With funding from the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the conference was held in cooperation with the National Center for Family and Marriage Research at Bowling Green State University. Papers from the conference were published in The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 654(1), July 2014: Family Complexity, Poverty, and Public Policy.

March 2011
Employment Prospects for Lower Wage Workers: Easing the Implications of a Slow Recovery

This conference was hosted by IRP and organized by Robert Haveman, Carolyn Heinrich, and Timothy Smeeding. Financial support for the conference was provided by the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. A summary of the conference is provided in Fast Focus 10-2011.

October 2010
Child Poverty, Health, and Well-Being

A working conference hosted by IRP in coordination with the Center for Demography and Ecology, Center for Demography of Health and Aging, Department of Population Health Sciences, Waisman Center, and the Interdisciplinary Training Program in Education Sciences at the Wisconsin Center for Education Research, University of Wisconsin–Madison, and Columbia University's Population Research Center. Financial support was provided by the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Conference organizers were Pamela Herd, Katherine Magnuson, and Barbara Wolfe.

August 2010
Take-Up of Social Benefits: Causes, Consequences, and Trade-Offs Conference

This conference was organized by Jennifer Noyes and Timothy Smeeding, with financial support from the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and from the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

March 2010
Service Integration Summit

The summit was orgnized by Jennifer Noyes and Thomas Corbett with support from the Joyce Foundation.

September 2009
Intergenerational Mobility Within and Across Nations: The Promise of Cross-National Research

Cosponsored by the European Commission, FP 6; the Russell Sage Foundation; and the PEW Charitable Trust, this conference was organized by Robert Erikson, Swedish Institute for Social Research, Stockholm University; Markus Jäntti, Åbo Akademi University; and Timothy Smeeding, IRP Director, University of Wisconsin–Madison. This conference resulted in an edited volume, Persistence, Privilege, and Parenting: The Comparative Study of Intergenerational Mobility, co-edited by Timothy Smeeding, Robert Erikson, and Markus Jäntti, and available from the Russell Sage Foundation, September 2011.

September 2009
Young Disadvantaged Men: Fathers, Families, Poverty, and Policy

A working conference hosted by IRP in coordination with the Center for Research on Fathers, Children and Family Well-Being and the Columbia Population Research Center, at Columbia University. Tim Smeeding, Ron Mincy, and Irv Garfinkel organized the conference and will co-edit a planned conference volume. The Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is also providing financial support for this conference. Conference papers were publlished in the Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Sciences, Vol. 635 (May 2011): "Young Disadvantaged Men: Fathers, Families, Poverty, and Policy." Special Editors Timothy M. Smeeding, Irwin Garfinkel, and Ronald E. Mincy.

July 2009
State Innovations in Policies Supporting Healthy Families Conference
A working conference organized by IRP, with financial support from the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

July 2008
A State of Agents? Third Party Governance and Implications for Human Services
An IRP-organized conference with financial support from the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; the University of Arizona, School of Public Administration and Policy, Eller College of Management; the University of Washington, Daniel J. Evans School of Public Affairs; and the University of Southern California, School of Policy, Planning, and Development. A summary of selected conference findings can be found in Fast Focus No. 1-2008.

May 2008
Changing Poverty Conference
A working conference organized by IRP, with financial support from the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. This conference resulted in an edited volume, Changing Poverty, Changing Policies, co-edited by Maria Cancian and Sheldon Danziger, and available from the Russell Sage Foundation, September 2009.

April 2008
Measuring the Role of Faith in Program Outcome
A working conference organized by IRP, with support from the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the Bradley Foundation. A summary of this conference can be found in Fast Focus 3-2009

September 2007
Pathways to Self-Sufficiency: Getting Ahead in an Era Beyond Welfare Reform

A working conference organized by IRP and cosponsored by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Russell Sage Foundation, Smith Richardson Foundation, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation. This conference resulted in an edited volume, Making the Work-Based Safety Net Work Better: Forward-Looking Policies to Help Low-Income Families, co-edited by Carolyn Heinrich and John Karl Scholz, and available from the Russell Sage Foundation, May 2009.

November 2006
IRP Special Sessions at Association for Public Policy and Management (APPAM) Fall Conference

Session 1: Poverty Research over Four Decades
Session 2: Poverty Policy over Four Decades
A summary of these proceedings can be found in Focus 25(1). Spring-Summer 2007.

September 2006
Multiple-Partner Fertility

A working conference organized by IRP.

February 2006
Will Standards-Based Reform in Education Help Close the Poverty Gap?

A working conference cosponsored by the Institute for Research on Poverty, the Wisconsin Center for Education Research, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Education. This conference resulted in an edited volume published by the Brookings Institution Standards-Based Reform and the Poverty Gap: Lessons for "No Child Left Behind", edited by Adam Gamoran.

April 2005
Making the Politics of Poverty and Inequality: How Public Policies Are Reshaping American Democracy

An IRP-organized conference cosponsored with the Russell Sage Foundation. This conference resulted in an edited volume, Remaking America: Democracy and Public Policy in an Age of Inequality, edted by Joe Soss, Jacob Hacker, and Suzanne Mettler, and available from the Russell Sage Foundation, November 2007,

March 2005
Qualitative Approaches to the Study of Poverty and Welfare Reform: Current Challenges

An IRP-organized working conference.

July 2005
Conference on Welfare Research and Evaluation in the Upper Midwest

An IRP-organized conference held concurrently with the quarterly meeting of WELPAN.

May 2002
Income Volatility and Implications for Food Assistance Programs

Cosponsored with the Economic Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture.

April 2002
Evaluations of State TANF Programs

An IRP-organized conference with support from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the Joyce Foundation, and the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

May 2000
Understanding Poverty: Progress and Problems

Funded by the Office of Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Additional funding provided by the Russell Sage Foundation, the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, the Annie E. Casey Foundation, and the Ford Foundation. This conference resulted in an edited volume, Understanding Poverty, edited by Sheldon Danziger and Robert Haveman, and available from Harvard University Press and Russell Sage Foundation, April 2002.

1999
Implementation Evaluation Methods

Cosponsored with the Research Forum on Children and Families at the National Center for Children in Poverty, with funding from the Joyce Foundation and the Mott Foundation.

April 1999
Nonmarital Fertility

With funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. This conference resulted in an edited volume, Out of Wedlock: Causes and Consequences of Nonmarital Fertility, edited by Barbara Wolfe and Lawrence Wu, and available from the Russell Sage Foundation, June 2001.

1999
Poverty: Improving the Definition after Thirty Years

Cosponsored with the UW-Madison LaFollette Institute of Public Affairs and the Brookings Institution, with funding from the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

1996
Evaluating Comprehensive State Welfare Reforms

Funded by the Joyce Foundation and the Mott Foundation.

1996
Monitoring the Effects of the New Federalism on Children, Families, and Communities

Cosponsored with the National Center for Children in Poverty, with funding from the Foundation for Child Development. A summary of this conference can be found in Focus 18(1), Special Issue 1996.

1994
Indicators of Children's Well-Being

Cosponsored with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, Child Trends, Inc., and the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

1992
Poverty and Public Policy: What Do We Know? What Should We Do?

Cosponsored with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

1992
Paternity Establishment: A Public Policy Conference

Cosponsored with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

1991
Evaluating Comprehensive Family Service Programs

Cosponsored with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

1990
Evaluation Design for Welfare and Training Programs

Cosponsored with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

1989
Approaches to Analyzing Poverty: A Conference in Honor of Robert J. Lampman

Sponsored by the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

October 1988
The Effect of Taxation on Labor Supply in Industrialized Countries

Sponsored with funds from the National Science Foundation.

1986
Poverty and Social Policy: The Minority Experience

Cosponsored with the Ford and Rockefeller Foundations.

1984
Income Transfer Policies and the Poor: A Cross-National Perspective

Sponsored with funds from the Council for European Studies and the University of Wisconsin International Studies Program, supported by the Rockefeller Foundation's Bellagio Conference Center.

1984
Poverty and Policy: Retrospect and Prospects

Cosponsored with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

1982
Hispanics in the U.S. Economy

Cosponsored with the National Commission on Employment Policy, with funds from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

1981
Wisconsin Workshop on Child Support: Research and Public Policy

Cosponsored with the Wisconsin Department of Health and Social Services.

1980
Cross-National Study of Disability Policy

Cosponsored with the U.S. Social Security Administration and the Rockefeller Foundation.

1980
The Social Security System and the Changing Roles of Women

Cosponsored with the Women's Studies Research Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, with funds from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

1979
Universal vs. Income-Tested Welfare Programs

Cosponsored with the Ford Foundation and the U.S. Social Security Administration.

1978
Microsimulation Modeling for Public Policy Analysis

Cosponsored with Mathematica Policy Research, Inc., with funds from the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare.

1977
The Treatment of Assets and Income from Assets in Income-Conditioned Programs

Cosponsored with the Federal Council on Aging.

1976
The Trend in Income Inequality in the United States

Sponsored with funds from the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare.

1974
A Decade of Federal Antipoverty Policies: Achievements, Failures, and Lessons

Cosponsored with the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare.

1974
Welfare Reform: Issues and Objectives

Sponsored with funds from the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare.

1967
Psychological Factors in Poverty

Cosponsored with the Department of Psychology, University of Wisconsin.

1966
Poverty Research, Communications, and the Public

Cosponsored with the Russell Sage-University of Wisconsin School of Journalism Social Science Reporting Program.