Anti-Poverty Research Presentation Series

May 23, 2023

The Brookings Institution
1775 Massachusetts Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20036

Please join us on May 23, 2023 to hear the latest anti-poverty research from the Institute for Research on Poverty’s early career fellows. These impressive early career academics will present on a wide range of topics with a focus on impacts for minoritized individuals and communities. You can find the full agenda with the presenter bios and presentation abstracts below. Please register here to let us know which presentations you’ll be attending.


Tuesday, May 23 (Times in Eastern)
9:30 – 11:00 Panel 1: Education and Work

Dr. Elizabeth Iris Rivera Rodas Presentation
The Math is not Mathing: The Impact of Historical Residential Segregation on Latinx Academic Achievement
Dr. Karina Chavarria Flash Talk
Fractured Paths: Undocumented Latina/o Students’ College-Going Experiences Amidst Shifting Policies 
Dr. Daniel Auguste Flash Talk
Race and Entrepreneurial Return from Education: Do Wealth and Student Loan Debt Make a Difference?”
Dr. Linsey Edwards Flash Talk
Labor Market Disparities in Context: Race, Recession and the Role of Low Work Hours
11:00 – 11:10 Break
11:10 – 12:40 Panel 2: Housing

Dr. Deyanira Nevarez Martinez Presentation
How Latinx Individuals and Families from Farmworking Communities in Western Michigan Experience and Navigate the Housing Services Bureaucracy
Dr. Ivis Garcia Presentation
An Examination of the Repair, Relocation, and Reconstruction Program (R3) after Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico
12:40 – 1:20 Break
1:20 – 2:50 Panel 3: Carceral State

Dr. Brittany Battle Presentation
Incarceration Beyond Institutions: Surveillance and Community Confinement in the Criminal Punishment and Immigration Systems
Dr. Jamein Cunningham Presentation
Police Protections, Productivity, and Crime: Evidence from Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights
2:50 – 3:00 Break
3:00 – 3:30 Panel 4: Role of Racial Protests

Dr. Casey Nichols Flash Talk
Resistance, Policy, and the U.S. City
Dr. Alberto Ortega Flash Talk
Racial Protests and Credit Access


Presenter Presentation
Elizabeth Iris Rivera Rodas is an Assistant Professor of Quantitative Methods and Sociology of Education in the Department of Educational Foundations at Montclair State University’s College of Education and Human Services. As an economist of education, Rivera Rodas’s scholarly interests involve the economics of urban education, residential and school segregation, and structural educational inequities by race and ethnicity. Her current research, which is supported by a two-year American Educational Research Association–National Science Foundation Research Grant, explores the structural barriers that contribute to Latinx mathematics achievement. The projects she will advance as an Emerging Poverty Scholar extend this research and investigate the structural and intentional processes within mathematics tracking and the impact on postsecondary enrollment and completion in STEM fields for Latinx high school students. 45-minute presentation: The Math is not Mathing: The Impact of Historical Residential Segregation on Latinx Academic Achievement

Districts and schools control which courses they offer and therefore, access to high quality advanced-level mathematics courses is partially under the control of education agencies. However, these districts and schools are a product of their neighborhoods and residential segregation. Historically divested neighborhoods have lower advanced level course availability (Owens, 2020), and schools in gentrifying neighborhoods have been found to offer special and advanced programs to attract the gentry (Stillman, 2012). This study investigates one of the structural processes – course availability – that affect secondary enrollment in advanced level mathematics courses. The findings from this study will affect policies guiding advanced-level mathematics course availability in secondary public schools.
Karina Chavarria is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at California State University Channel Islands. Broadly, her research agenda bridges multiple sociological sub-fields: education, migration, and race and ethnicity. In particular, she examines the relationship between educational inequalities, as these impact marginalized youth across race/ethnicity and immigration status, and youth’s agency in enacting transformative social change. Chavarria will use this fellowship to further her current research which aims to advance our understanding of the academic and economic outcomes of Latinx youth in Ventura County via an assessment of the challenges and opportunities shaping their educational and employment prospects amidst the devastations produced by COVID. 15 minute Flash Talk: Fractured Paths: Undocumented Latina/o Students’ College-Going Experiences Amidst Shifting Policies

Nationally, there is an increased necessity for a college education in order to access opportunities for financial stability and social mobility. For undocumented students, however, the journey to college can be bleak often crowded with boulders, dead ends, or altogether non-existent. The broader immigration related policy landscape at both Federal and State levels has given rise to both empirical and theoretical questions about undocumented students’ college-going experiences and trajectories. I use Lat/Crit as an overarching framework to address dominant college-going models’ limitations in understanding undocumented Latina/o students’ pursuit of a college degree, particularly as it can assist us in articulating how undocumented Latina/o students’ social locations intersect in unique ways and provide a nuanced understanding of the morphing structures of subordination shaping the educational paths they can in fact pursue.
Daniel Auguste is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at Florida Atlantic University. His research interests include inequality, stratification, economic and organizational sociology, and entrepreneurship. More specifically, his research agenda seeks to understand the structural forces determining who gets what, who participates and to what level they participate in the capitalist production process. In this fellowship, Auguste will investigate the extent to which racial wealth inequality influences racial disparities in business ownership and success; investigate the economic conditions under which entrepreneurship may facilitate social mobility in the United States; and examine the link between employment quality and business ownership and success. 15 minute Flash Talk: Race and Entrepreneurial Return from Education: Do Wealth and Student Loan Debt Make a Difference?

Scholars have implicated racial wealth inequality in racial disparities in business ownership and success, and education debt. However, we know less about the extent to which entrepreneurial returns from educational achievement potentially vary by race, and the potential impact of education debt on racial inequality in entrepreneurship. I address this gap in the literature by examining the extent of the profit that black and white entrepreneurs gain from their ventures, how it varies by their educational achievement, and the degree to which student loan debt affects racial differences in business profit.
Linsey Edwards is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at New York University. She studies neighborhood, organization, and work-based practices that contribute to the persistence of poverty and near-poverty in the United States. Edwards also works to evaluate social welfare program interventions that have the potential to reduce administrative burden for low-income citizens. She will use this fellowship to finish her book entitled, “The Time Trap” which will inform policy and practice by reshaping the assumptions some policymakers and program administrators have about how low-income households use their time and influence these actors to think more explicitly about how programs can reduce structural barriers for these groups. 15 minute Flash Talk: Labor Market Disparities in Context: Race, Recession and the Role of Low Work Hours

Existing research suggests that racial disparities in labor market outcomes increase during times of market contraction and decrease during expansion, yet the very measures used to proxy racial inequality might overestimate the degree to which inequality is reduced during recovery. To better understand these relationships, we examine variation in how observable characteristics of workers explain involuntary, low work hour disparities. Results from this paper indeed suggest a countercyclical relationship unlike previous findings related to unemployment or wage inequality, and is not explained by measured individual characteristics, or by the status, demographic composition, or skill demands of occupations. Implications for poverty and inequality are discussed.
Ivis Garcia is an Associate Professor in the Department of Landscape Architecture & Urban Planning at Texas A&M University. Her most recent community engagement research has sought to elucidate currently existing as well as historic relationships between market typologies, the structured dynamics of housing stratification and distribution, advocacy, and community organizing strategies in diverse (primarily Latino) communities. Her work has implications pertaining to inequality in recovery from disasters and the role of the state in housing policy more generally. In addition, Garcia chairs Planners for Puerto Rico—a group of academic and practitioner planners—in which she collaborates on recovery efforts in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria and is a board member of the National Puerto Rican Agenda. Garcia plans to use this fellowship to follow the relocation experiences of 100 households in two rural Puerto Rican communities affected by Hurricane Maria in 2017. Her work will enhance the scientific understanding of post-disaster community relocation decisions amidst uncertainty within communities of color. 45-minute presentation: An Examination of the Repair, Relocation, and Reconstruction Program (R3) after Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico

This research used surveys and interviews to assess the effects of Hurricane Maria on homeowners, the elements that shaped relocation decisions, the process of obtaining and receiving assistance from the Repair, Relocation, and Reconstruction Program (R3), and the experience of participants in the program. The findings will be used to improve the relocation process for those affected by natural disasters and create a fairer experience for all. Suggest a title: Assessing the Impact of Hurricane.
Deyanira Nevarez Martinez is an Assistant Professor of Urban and Regional Planning at Michigan State University. Using qualitative methods, her research focuses on the role of the state in informal and precarious housing and a major theme in her work is the criminalization of poverty. Additionally, her work has looked at issues of gentrification, racial equity in land-use and transportation, racial segregation, and bail reform. As an Emerging Poverty Scholar, she plans to launch a research project that seeks to examine ethnographically how Latinx individuals in farmworking communities in Michigan and their families experience homelessness and housing precarity and how they navigate the homelessness and housing services bureaucracy. This is especially important as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to severely and disproportionately affected this community in an increasingly xenophobic political environment. 45-minute presentation: This project seeks to examine ethnographically how Latinx individuals in farmworking communities in western Michigan and their families experience and navigate the housing services bureaucracy

Farmworkers in the midwest have traditionally accessed their housing through their employers. This creates conflict as the landlord/tenant relationship becomes enmeshed with the employer/employee relationship. Further complicating this landscape is the State which is responsible for licensing migrant labor housing and is responsible for ensuring that it is decent, safe, and sanitaryThis study will expand our knowledge about a population that largely resides in the shadows and are especially vulnerable due to increased criminalization of poverty and immigration.
Brittany Pearl Battle is Assistant Professor of Sociology at Wake Forest University. Her research interests include social and family policy, courts, and carceral logics. Her book project (under contract with NYU Press), They’re Stealing My Opportunity to Be a Father, examines how the child support system (re)produces carcerality as a state intervention in the family. Battle is also the co-founder of Triad Abolition Project, a grassroots organization based in Winston-Salem, NC, working to dismantle the carceral state. Her project for the Emerging Poverty Scholars Fellowship will examine the experiences of low-income people and communities in diverse judicial settings and forms of community confinement. 45-minute presentation: Incarceration Beyond Institutions: Surveillance and Community Confinement in the Criminal Punishment and Immigration Systems

The US legal system, undergirded by carceral logics that center retributive punishment for all measure of offenses, has extended far beyond the walls of formal institutions of incarceration and into the communities where individuals in contact with the criminal punishment and immigration systems live. The distinct, yet intersecting, systems of immigration and criminal punishment enforce widespread surveillance and confinement for millions of people each year, having significant implications for conceptualizations and experiences of family, community, and carcerality. This project uses court watch, photovoice narratives, and news media to explore these important sites of policing and punishment to better understand the realities of mechanisms of criminalization.
Jamein P. Cunningham is an Assistant Professor in the Jeb E. Brooks School of Public Policy at Cornell University with a joint appointment in the Department of Policy Analysis & Management and the Department of Economics. He is also a faculty affiliate at the Cornell Population Center and the Cornell Center for Social Sciences. His interests lie at the intersection of economic history and urban economics, with particular emphasis on the lasting impact of public policies from the 1960s and 1970s. Cunningham’s research agenda currently consists of four broad overarching themes focusing on institutional discrimination, access to social justice, crime and criminal justice, and racial inequality. He plans to focus his time as a Fellow completing two new projects: “Access to Public Assistance and Infant Mortality: Evidence from the Legal Services Program in the 1960s”; and “The War on Drugs, Byrne Grants, and Incarceration,” with co-author Robynn Cox. 45-minute presentation: Police Protections, Productivity, and Crime: Evidence from Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights

The passage of Law Enforcement Officers’ Bills of Rights (LEOBRs) has been a legislative priority for six decades, establishing a set of protections that supersede collective bargaining agreements. Yet, we know very little of the extent to which LEOBRs influence police-related outcomes. Using an event-study framework, we find that adopting LEOBRs decreases crime and non-white homicide victimization. The improvement in public safety is driven by increased financial support as we see more spending on policing. Moreover, we find little evidence that LEOBRs increase police violence, suggesting that state-wide protections may not contribute to racial disparities in police-related fatalities.
Casey Nichols is an Assistant Professor of History at Texas State University. She specializes in the areas of African American history, Mexican American history, U.S. urban history, and movements for social justice. Her current book project (under contract with the University of North Carolina Press), “Poverty Rebels: Black and Brown Protest in Post-Civil Rights America,” examines post-1965 antipoverty policy with a specific focus on how these polices shaped the relationship between African Americans and Mexican Americans in Los Angeles and brought new significance to Black-Brown relations as U.S. racial paradigm. In this fellowship, Nichols will continue work on her book manuscript and her next project titled, “The Intellectual History of Resistance, Class, and the U.S. City.” 15 minute Flash Talk: Resistance, Policy, and the U.S. City

My brief presentation will focus on a current article in development, which examines the impact that urban uprisings have had on social policies historically constructed as female. Some policies I plan to explore are related to welfare, housing, and community resources.
Alberto Ortega is an Assistant Professor in the O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University. He is an economist and public policy scholar with health and social policy research, focusing on the well-being of underserved and vulnerable populations. Ortega’s earlier work examined educational barriers and inequities faced by racial and ethnic minorities. His current research explores issues surrounding access to health care and social determinants of health outcomes, including substance use, mental health, and mortality resulting from victimization. As an Emerging Poverty Scholar, he plans to extend his recent research agenda by examining the effects of school and residential segregation on inequities in well-being, health behaviors, and health outcomes. 15 minute Flash Talk: Racial Protests and Credit Access

This project examines the effect of local racial demonstrations, such as Black Lives Matter (BLM) protests, and the subsequent racial justice movement following the death of George Floyd on racial disparities in the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan disbursements. Using difference-in-differences, we find that local racial protests improve credit access for black business owners. We find that social media and public attention after the death of George Floyd amplified the broader BLM mission statement of racial equity, resulting in a positive moderating effect on loan amounts distributed to black owners relative to other racial-ethnic groups. Our findings show that racial implicit and explicit bias diminishes after George Floyd’s death with stronger effects in finance occupations.