2014–2015 IRP Webinar Series

IRP places a high priority on making knowledge and information available to interested parties. In addition to our on-campus seminar series, IRP offers regular online webinars on current research on poverty and social inequality in the United States. Register for upcoming webinars or watch recordings of past webinars.

July 23, 2015, 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. CDT

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Improving Worker Skills and Job Quality among the Poor

We experienced a service interruption during this webinar that cut the recording into two parts with approximately two minutes of presentation lost.

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Part 1 | Part 2 | Presentation Slides

Featuring Harry Holzer

Harry Holzer

In this webinar, Georgetown Professor of Public Policy and IRP affiliate Harry Holzer will broadly review the factors that limit labor market skills among disadvantaged students and workers. In particular, he will discuss low completion rates that plague so many students in college and the relative absence of high-quality alternatives in career and technical education or work-based learning, along with policy remedies to those problems. In addition to the focus on the supply of worker skills, he will consider what we know about labor market demand for different skills and how policymakers might affect that side of the issue.


May 20, 2015, 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. CDT

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The Changing Geography of Poverty

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Featuring: Scott Allard and Alexandra Murphy

Scott Allard and Alexandra Murphy

This webinar will examine how, in the last several decades, there have been dramatic shifts in the geography of poverty in U.S. metropolitan areas.

Today, the suburban rings of most metropolitan areas are home to more poor persons and families than the cities of those metro areas. At the same time, poverty remains a significant challenge for cities.

Allard and Murphy will discuss these demographic trends and the factors that have been driving these changes. They will also talk about the consequences of these changes for communities and the implications for the safety net.


April 27, 2015, 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. CDT

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Wisconsin Poverty Report: How a State-Level Alternative Poverty Measure Can Be Used to Advance Poverty Measurement and Policy

Julia Isaacs and Tim Smeeding

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This webinar will feature Julia Isaacs, a senior fellow at the Urban Institute and affiliate of IRP, and Timothy Smeeding, Arts and Sciences Distinguished Professor of Public Affairs and Economics at the La Follette School of Public Affairs at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and former director of IRP. Isaacs and Smeeding will discuss the Wisconsin Poverty Measure, and how this comprehensive poverty measure has been used to examine poverty—and public responses to poverty—between 2008 and 2013.

They will discuss the results of their forthcoming seventh annual Wisconsin Poverty Report. This year's report found that poverty increased in the state in 2013, despite a growth in jobs. The finding highlights challenges facing the state during a recovery with low-paying jobs, combined with a shrinking safety net.

They also will share findings showing the wide variation in poverty across multi-county, county, and sub-county areas in the state.

Following the presentation, Smeeding and Isaacs will take questions from the online audience.

To receive a pdf copy of the report when it is released (April 21), please subscribe to the Wisconsin Poverty Report distribution list by sending an email to join-wipovreport@lists.wisc.edu.


January 21, 2015, 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. CST

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It's Not Like I'm Poor: How Working Families Make Ends Meet in a Post-Welfare World

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Sarah Halpern-Meekin, Kathryn Edin, and Laura Tach

Sarah Halpern-Meekin, Kathryn Edin, and Laura Tach

In this webinar, Sarah Halpern-Meekin, Kathryn Edin, and Laura Tach will discuss their new book, It's Not Like I'm Poor, which details how everyday Americans have gotten by since welfare reform's sweeping transformation in the 1990s. Via the dramatic expansion of tax credits for low-income workers, the economic fortunes of one group of poor households, the working poor, have been bolstered as never before. "Hitting the lottery" at tax time doesn't erase the month-to-month challenges of making ends meet on meager wages; nonetheless, the new welfare system makes the dream of a middle-class life feel more tangible.


December 17, 2014, 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm CST

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Poverty and the Brain

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Presenters: Seth Pollak, Distinguished Professor of Psychology and of Psychiatry and Pediatrics, Director of the Child Emotion Lab, University of Wisconsin–Madison

Barbara WolfeSeth Pollak

Barbara Wolfe, Richard A. Easterlin Professor of Economics, Population Health Sciences, and Public Affairs

In this webinar, Seth Pollak and Barbara Wolfe will discuss their interdisciplinary study that examines how family socioeconomic status (primarily income) is reflected in the size of critical areas of a child's brain and the potential consequences for schooling attainment.


October 29, 2014, 1–2pm Central Time

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Emergency Savings for Low-Income Households

Please note that we experienced audio problems at the beginning of this webinar and so this recording begins after the introduction to the webinar.

Presenters: J. Michael Collins and Ida Rademacher

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Ida Rademacher J. Michael Collins

In this webinar, IRP Affiliate J. Michael Collins of UW–Madison's Center for Financial Security and Ida Rademacher of Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED) will discuss strategies to promote emergency savings among underserved households. While most policies, programs, and research related to savings focuses on long-term savings for homeownership, education, and retirement, a lack of shorter-term emergency savings leaves families vulnerable to unexpected expenses and negative income shocks. Collins and Rademacher will discuss research and proposals to develop financial products and services that may help low-asset households develop emergency savings and ways that policymakers and practitioners can bolster these efforts.

For more information on the research project behind this webinar, visit the Emergency Savings Project website.


Wednesday, August 6, 2014, 1:00-2:00 p.m. (CDT)

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Heirs' Property: Preventing Loss and Promoting Effective Utilization

Presenters: Thomas Mitchell, Professor of Law, University of Wisconsin–Madison Law School, and Jennie L. Stephens, Executive Director, Center for Heirs' Property Preservation, Charleston, South Carolina

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Jennie Stephens Thomas Mitchell

This webinar will address important topics related to ownership of property that many poor and minority communities refer to as heirs' property, though this very prevalent type of common ownership of property is technically known as tenancy-in-common property. Thousands of families have lost heirs' property in lawsuits referred to as partition actions after judges resolved these cases by ordering the property sold against the wishes of most of the common owners. In addition to losing their property in these partition actions, most of these families also have lost much of the real estate wealth associated with such property ownership given that the forced sales typically yield sales prices that represent just a fraction of the market value of the land that was sold. In addition to their very insecure ownership, many families who currently own heirs' property have not been able to use their property to build wealth for a variety of reasons which often stands in sharp contrast to how their ancestors often were able to use their property for productive economic purposes. This webinar will address strategies that those who own heirs' property can utilize to make their ownership more secure as well as strategies heirs' property owners can utilize to make their ownership more sustainable and economically viable.

For more on this topic, please see this related story from BBC News Magazine on Cherished Land Lost in the South.


Previous IRP Webinars: 2013–2014 | 2012–2013