IRP Special Sessions at Association for Public Policy and Management Fall Conference

November 3, 2006
Monona Terrace Convention Center
Madison, WI

SESSION 1: Poverty Research over Four Decades

Time: 11:15 a.m. – 12:45 p.m.
Room: Monona Terrace: Lecture Hall
Chair: Robert Haveman (University of Wisconsin–Madison)
Participant: Sheldon Danziger (University of Michigan)
Title: Fighting Poverty Revisited: What Did Researchers Know 40 Years Ago? What Do We Know Today?
Abstract: Danziger rejects the view that poverty remains high mainly because government provided too much aid for the poor and thereby encouraged dysfunctional labor market and marital behaviors. Most increases in poverty have resulted from slow economic growth and rising inequality. Danziger argues that, given the political will, policies he will discuss offer a promising basis for a new antipoverty initiative in the United States.
Participant: Gary Burtless (The Brookings Institution)
Title: What Have We Learned and What Do We Need to Learn about the Sources of Poverty? Evidence from Cross-National Analysis
Abstract: Burtless considers what we have learned from cross-national analyses of the sources of poverty, and it describes what these analyses can still teach us about both the effects of antipoverty policies and their behavioral consequences. One lesson from recent studies is plain. Although average real income in the United States is higher than it is in almost any other country, the United States also has one of the highest poverty rates in the rich industrialized world, whether poverty is measured using an absolute or a relative standard for determining who is poor.
Discussant: Mitch Duneier (Princeton University)
Title: The Role of Observational Research in Understanding the Poverty Problem
Abstract: Duneier will focus on the complementarity between conventional quantitative poverty research and qualitative observational research, emphasizing what we have learned about the nature and causes of poverty from participant observation research. He will suggest priorities for future qualitative poverty research and the possibilities for increased integration of the quantitative and qualitative approaches.
Discussant: Glenn Loury (Brown University)
Title: The Role of ‘Culture’ in Understanding the Poverty Problem
Abstract: Loury will be talking about what we have learned, and what we should therefore be doing, regarding the nexus between culture and poverty. “Culture” is taken to mean expectations shared by members of an interacting community, values reinforced within and between families, normative pressures for conformity with peers, and systems of belief about behaviors appropriate to one's role, etc.
Discussant: Marta Tienda (Princeton University)
Title: Opportunities Taken or Lost: Insights from the Transition of Hispanic Youth
Abstract: Tienda will discuss Hispanic youth at an important crossroads, focusing on the Hispanic generational transition and what it portends for the contours of economic inequality, given recent trends in educational attainment—are opportunities being taken, or are they being lost?

SESSION 2: Poverty Policy over Four Decades

Time: 1:00 – 2:30 p.m.
Room: Monona Terrace: Lecture Hall
Chair: Timothy Smeeding (Syracuse University)
Participant: Douglas Besharov (American Enterprise Institute and University of Maryland-College Park)
Title: Poverty Over Forty Years: Real Progress, Continuing Deprivation, and New Problems
Abstract: Besharov will explore the decline in official poverty (and rising incomes) of various demographic or social groups, its causes, and what it suggests for policy. For example, he will discuss the drop in the poverty rate for single mothers and explore what was responsible for the decline. He will also explore the increase in poverty (and declining incomes) among other groups, especially among low-skilled African American men.
Participant: Robert Moffitt (Johns Hopkins University)
Title: Four Decades of Anti Poverty Policy: Past Developments and Future Directions
Abstract: Moffitt will review the decline of the AFDC-TANF program relative to in-kind transfer programs and the EITC. He will also examine the trends in federal, state, and local expenditures. The historical account of policy developments will be accompanied by a discussion of how thinking among policy makers and researchers, based on the results of research studies, has evolved
Discussant: John Karl Scholz (University of Wisconsin–Madison)
Title: Tax Policy and Low-Income Households
Abstract: Scholz will discuss selected features of the evolution of federal tax policy over the past 40 years as it affects low income families. Themes include ensuring families with incomes below the poverty line no longer have positive income tax liabilities, the expansion of the EITC, the role played by tax expenditures in tax policy, and the issue of refundable credits (including the child credit).
Discussant: Marcia Meyers (University of Washington-Seattle)
Title: The Governance, Organization, and Management of Antipoverty Policy
Abstract: Meyers will discuss the organization and management of antipoverty policy including the growing role of nonprofits as antipoverty policy agents. The organization of contemporary antipoverty policy reflects political conflicts and institutional choices of the past—and sets the stage for policy alternatives in the future.
Discussant: Jane Waldfogel (Columbia University)
Title: Meeting Children's Needs When Parents Work
Abstract: Waldfogel will discuss work-family issues and child poverty policy. As anti-poverty policies have emphasized the central role of increasing parental employment and earnings, this shift has implications in terms of the need for improved policies to meet the needs of children when parents work.