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 has established a new series of interactive online seminars designed to more broadly disseminate current research on poverty and social inequality in the United States.

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.


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.


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

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.


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

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.


Previous IRP Webinars: 2013–2014 | 2012–2013