What's New at IRP


Participants  and faculty from the inaugural National Poverty Research Center Dissertation  Workshop

National Poverty Research Center
Dissertation Proposal Workshop

IRP and the Center on Race and Wealth (CRW) at Howard University conducted the inaugural National Poverty Research Center, Dissertation Proposal Workshop May 21–27, 2017. The workshop was designed to help provide students from underrepresented populations, selected through a competitive application process, with the skills, knowledge, and resources needed to prepare a dissertation proposal.

Support for the workshop was provided by the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services through IRP's National Poverty Research Center grant.

A call for applications for the 2018 workshop is planned for release in February 2018.

Photo: Participants and faculty from the inaugural National Poverty Research Center Dissertation Workshop


Abigail SewellMortgage Markets and the Roots of Racial Health Disparities
Abigail Sewell
Assistant Professor of Sociology, Emory College
In this podcast, Sewell discusses her research on how political and economic processes underlying mortgage markets may be at the root of some racial disparities in health.

Listen | Read Transcript


Financial Causes and Consequences of Child Maltreatment
Child maltreatment happens in all kinds of families, but research shows that low income is the most consistent predictor. New research goes beyond association to reveal a causal relationship between poverty and child maltreatment. A set of studies published in the journal Children and Youth Services Review shows that poverty exists as both a cause and consequence of child abuse and neglect. This brief describes the latest statistics on child maltreatment as reported to child protective services (CPS) agencies and goes on to highlight related policy-relevant findings from a limited selection of the studies included in the journal.

Read the Brief | Read the Journal Articles


Cover page image of the 9th annual Wisconsin Poverty Report

Wisconsin Poverty Report: The Recovery from the Great Recession Lowers Poverty Rates in 2015

Wisconsin gained 70,000 jobs, leading to a significant reduction in poverty as measured by the Wisconsin Poverty Measure (WPM) for 2015.1 The WPM overall rate fell from 10.8 percent in 2014 to 9.7 percent in 2015, marking the lowest rate recorded since the WPM began nine years ago.The WPM child poverty rate also reached an all-time low of 10.0 percent, more than 5 percentage points below the official poverty measure's rate for children of 15.4 percent. A major difference between the WPM and the official measure is that the WPM counts resources from tax credits and noncash benefits like Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP (called FoodShare in Wisconsin) in addition to earnings. Thus, these rates reflect both the improvement in Wisconsin's job market and the continued importance of the safety net in protecting Wisconsin families.

Full Report | Summary | Press Release

2017 Graduating Graduate Research Fellows: Katharine Broton, Natalie Guerrero Cofie, Joel Kaiyuan Han, Tenah Kuah Acquaye Hunt, Andrea Larson, and Kegon Tan

Graduating and Moving On

IRP extends warm congratulations to the six GRFs who earned their Ph.D. this spring and are moving on to new adventures (five grads have academic appointments and one is returning to med school). Grads' discipline and next step are noted in parentheses below.

Katharine Broton* (Sociology; Assistant Professor of Educational Policy and Leadership Studies, University of Iowa)

Natalie Guerrero Cofie (Population Health Sciences; Returning to Medical School, University of Wisconsin–Madison)

Joel Kaiyuan Han (Economics; Assistant Professor of Economics, Loyola University)

Tenah Kuah Acquaye Hunt (Social Welfare; Researcher, Learning through Evaluation, Adaptation, and Dissemination (LEAD) Center, University of Wisconsin–Madison)

Andrea Larson (Social Welfare; Postdoctoral Research Associate, School of Medicine and Public Health, University of Wisconsin–Madison)

Kegon Tan* (Economics; Assistant Professor of Economics, University of Rochester)

*IRP GRF Program Dissertation Fellow


Joe SossHow Governments and Corporations Made the Criminal Justice System Profitable
Joe Soss
Cowles Chair for the Study of Public Service, Humphrey School of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota
In this podcast, Soss discusses how criminal justice system practices including fines, fees, civil asset forfeiture, and the bail and prison industries led to the creation of what he calls a predatory system of governance.

Listen | Read Transcript
Chris Wimer and Jim Ziliak

Weighing the Benefits of a Universal vs. Targeted Child Safety Net
May 17, 2017, 1:00–2:00 pm CDT
Christopher Wimer and James Ziliak
This webinar will explore the merits of universal versus targeted approaches to improving the safety net. First, Christopher Wimer, Codirector of Columbia University's Center on Poverty and Social Policy, will discuss a plan for a Universal Child Allowance similar to that of many other developed countries, which has the potential to cut child poverty nearly in half. Then, James Ziliak, Director of the University of Kentucky Center for Poverty Research, will discuss a proposal that would convert the nonrefundable Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit to a refundable credit that would work in tandem with the EITC to improve child well-being and make work pay for low-income families.

Call for Applications: Russell Sage Foundation Visiting Scholar Program
The Russell Sage Foundation is calling for applications for its Visiting Scholar Program for the 2018–2019 academic year. The application deadline is June 28, 2017. The program provides a unique opportunity for select scholars in the social, economic, and behavioral sciences to pursue their research and writing while in residence at the Foundation's New York headquarters. The Foundation annually awards up to 17 residential fellowships to select scholars who are at least several years beyond the Ph.D. Fellowships begin on September 1 and ordinarily run through June 30. More information is available on RSF's website.

Robert J. Lampman Memorial Lecture:
The Promise of Education to Foster Upward Mobility: Insights from New Research
Cecilia Rouse
Dean of the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs; Shirley Katzman and Lewis and Anna Ernst Professor in the Economics of Education; and Professor of Economics and Public Affairs, Princeton University
Monday, April 10, 2017
4:00–5:15 p.m., The University Club,
Wayside Room, 803 State Street

Video and transcription available

James GuszczaNew Perspectives in Social Policy Seminar:
Achieving Smarter Societies through Data Science, Digital Technology, and Human-Centered Design
James Guszcza, U.S. Chief Data Scientist, Deloitte Consulting LLP
Tuesday, April 18, 2017
4:00–5:30 p.m., Wisconsin Idea Room,
159 School of Education Building, 1000 Bascom Mall

Steven Durlauf Respondent: Steven Durlauf, William F. Vilas Research Professor and Kenneth J. Arrow Professor of Economics, University of Wisconsin–Madison, and Codirector, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Global Working Group
Video and transcription available after the event at http://www.irp.wisc.edu/newsevents/seminars/perspectives/perspectives.htm.


Harry BrighouseWhat Does It Cost to Raise a Child?
Harry Brighouse
Professor of Philosophy, University of Wisconsin–Madison

In this podcast, Harry Brighouse discusses how to think about the costs of raising a child beyond traditional measures, illustrating what philosophers can add to the perspectives of social scientists who study poverty.

Listen | Read the Transcript


Brian ThiedeEconomic Disadvantage in Rural America
April 12, 2017
1:00 – 2:00 p.m. Central
Brian Thiede, Assistant Professor of Rural Sociology and Sociology, Penn State University
Rural America and small-town America have been slower to recover from the Great Recession than U.S. metropolitan areas. This webinar explores the general economic context in which rural Americans live, with a focus on poverty and underemployment. It traces trends over recent decades, and explores possible causes (and solutions) to economic disadvantage in the rural United States.

Fast Focus Research/Policy Brief 26-2017 Thumbnail

TANF turns 20
Fast Focus No. 26 presents a summary of the presentations and discussion by a group of the nation's leading experts on welfare reform, who gathered at the Brookings Institution to discuss the effects of the 1996 Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA), what the landmark legislation sought to do, and its effects on target groups. The event was intended to produce a bipartisan synthesis on welfare reform with an eye toward future improvements in the national safety net that encourages work while also supporting disadvantaged families.

Read the Brief


Anna Gassman-PinesSanford School of Public Policy, Duke University
Substantial evidence indicates that in SNAP households with children, the vast majority of SNAP nutrition assistance recipients are spending all of their monthly allotted benefit in the first two weeks and about 27% have spent over three quarters of their total SNAP just in that first two weeks following receipt. Taking advantage of variation in the timing of the distribution of SNAP benefits, Gassman-Pines examined the links between the timing of SNAP benefits in a household to children's achievement test scores.

Listen | Read the Transcript

Extramural Research Funding: Policies and Programs to Reduce Child Poverty and Its Effects

The Institute for Research on Poverty (IRP) at the University of Wisconsin–Madison seeks to fund research examining policies and programs with the potential to reduce child poverty and/or its effects, a key area of interest identified by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation. Proposals are invited from U.S. Ph.D.-holding poverty scholars at all career stages, from postdoctoral fellows to senior faculty, and from all disciplines. IRP anticipates funding four to eight projects, with awards ranging from $10,000 to $25,000 each.

Proposal deadline: 5:00 p.m. CDT, March 31, 2017

Read the RFP.


"Economic Causes and Consequences of Child Maltreatment" CYSR edited by Kristen Slack, Lawrence Berger, and Jennifer Noyes now publicly available online
Journal Articles | Press Release | Workshop

Focus 33:1: Social Determinants of Health

Read the Full Issue
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The Institute for Research on Poverty (IRP), the nation's original poverty research center, was established in 1966 at the University of Wisconsin–Madison as a university-based, multidisciplinary research center into the causes and consequences of poverty and social inequality in the United States. IRP is nonprofit and nonpartisan.

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This message was supported by grant number AE000103 from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE). The opinions and conclusions expressed herein are solely those of the author(s) and should not be construed as representing the opinions or policy of any agency of the Federal government.