What's New at IRP


IRP/CRW Summer Dissertation Proposal Workshop
Deadline Extended: Januaryr 31, 2018
IRP and Howard University's Center on Race and Wealth (CRW) seek applications for the second annual Summer Dissertation Proposal Writing Workshop. This week-long workshop, held at Howard University in Washington, DC, is aimed at pre-proposal doctoral students in the social sciences from underrepresented racial and ethnic populations who are studying topics related to poverty or inequality in the United States. The workshop is designed to help provide students the skills, knowledge, and resources needed to prepare a dissertation proposal. Funding is provided by the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, as part of IRP's National Poverty Research Center award.

Read the Full Call | Apply

A Safety Net That Works
Robert Doar
Morgridge Fellow in Poverty Studies, American Enterprise Institute
Excerpt: "The safety net in the United States as funded by the federal government is large and it's multifaceted and it's hard to follow and understand for anyone, including me, and I've been in it for a long time. [In my edited volume A Safety Net That Works,] I wanted to assemble an interesting collection of experts, either former practitioners, or researchers, or academics, to write about the particular program that they knew best and to write short chapters that describe where we were today, what the purpose of the program was, how successful it was, what its problems were, and how we could make them better."

Listen to the Podcast | Read the Transcript

Work and Well-Being among Low-Income Men

Fast Focus Research/Policy No. 30-2017 explores the steady decline since the mid-1960s in the rate of prime-age American men working or actively looking for work and concurrent precipitous decreases in marriage rates, particularly among less-educated groups. A growing body of research has also begun to document a rise in poor health and premature mortality among these populations. These demographic and health-related shifts both reflect and contribute to poverty and economic inequality. Reversing these trends has the potential to improve labor force participation and social well-being as well as boost economic growth. The brief ends by identifying knowledge gaps about why these men's labor force participation has fallen and how social policy can address this trend.

Read the Brief

IRP Presenters at Public Policy Analysis & Management Conference
A multidisciplinary group of IRP Affiliates, National Poverty Fellows, and Graduate Research Fellows from the University of Wisconsin–Madison and institutions across the nation will present their work at the 2017 Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management (APPAM) Fall Research Conference, November 2–4, 2017, in Chicago, IL. The theme for this year's event is "Measurement Matters: Better Data for Better Decisions."

IRP-Affiliated APPAM Presenters

Claudia PersicoHow Does Exposure to Toxic Waste Sites Before Birth Affect
Children's Development?
Claudia Persico, Educational Leadership & Policy Analysis, UW–Madison
In this podcast episode, Claudia Perisco discusses a study she conducted with David Figlio, Education and Social Policy and Economics, Northwestern University, and Jeffrey Roth, Pediatrics, University of Florida–Gainesville, that looks at the effects of prenatal exposure to a Superfund site on later learning outcomes.

Listen to the Podcast | Read the Transcript

Fast Focus 29-2017 thumbnail - Deep Poverty in the U.S.FAST FOCUS: DEEP POVERTY IN THE U.S.

Fast Focus Research/Policy No. 29-2017 explores the literature on estimates and trends of deep poverty (below half the poverty threshold) in the United States and the effectiveness of the safety net in alleviating it. It describes the prevalence and demographics of deep poverty and how they have changed over time; correlates of deep poverty, including earned income and family structure; and how well the safety net has prevented and alleviated severe disadvantage. The brief ends with outstanding research questions in the areas of measurement, work, and policy.

Read the Brief

Institute for Research on Poverty, ASPE, and OPPR logosNational Poverty Fellows Program
Application Deadline: November 26, 2017
The Institute for Research on Poverty is calling for applications for up to two postdoctoral fellowship positions for 2018–2019 with anticipated start dates in mid-2018.
Fellows will be in residence at the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation in the Administration for Children and Families (OPRE-ACF) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Read the Position Description | Apply

Marci YbarraPaid Family Leave for Low-Income Women
Marci Ybarra
October 18, 2017
1:00–2:00 p.m. CDT/2:00–3:00 EDT
In this webinar, Marci Ybarra, Assistant Professor in the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration, will provide an overview of current family leave policies and research. She will then discuss how other public welfare programs may function as temporary supports for poor mothers with infant children, and how expanded paid family leave programs could improve the well-being of families with children.


Thumbnail for Fast Focus 28-2017Childhood Obesity
Childhood obesity in the United States has more than doubled in the past 30 years. Studies show that although overall childhood obesity rates have plateaued at 17 percent, differences by socioeconomic status appear to be widening.
This Fast Focus Research/Policy brief summarizes current research on the factors associated with childhood obesity in the United States and synthesizes results from promising interventions.

Read the Brief


Seminars take place on Thursdays from 12:15 to 1:30 p.m. in room 8417 Social Sciences Building.

Alfonso MoralesSeptember 14: Alfonso Morales, Professor, Department of Planning and Landscape Architecture, University of Wisconsin–Madison
Resurgent Marketplaces: Tools for Broad-Based Community Development

Richard ReevesSeptember 28: Richard Reeves, Senior Fellow, Co-Director, Center of Children and Families, Brookings Institution
Dream Hoarders

Cosponsored by: Center for Demography and Ecology and La Follette School of Public Affairs

W. Bradford WilcoxOctober 5: W. Bradford Wilcox, Associate Professor, Department of Sociology, Director, National Marriage Project, University of Virginia

The Success Sequence: How Are Education, Work, and Especially Marriage Linked to Millennials' Financial Well-Being?


See the Full Fall Seminar Schedule


Amy KindUsing Neighborhood Socioeconomic Data to Improve Health Outcomes
Amy Kind
In this webinar, recorded on Sept. 6, 2017, Amy Kind, Associate Professor of Geriatrics, UW–Madison School of Medicine and Public Health, discusses the relationship between neighborhood disadvantage and health disparities, and the challenges of incorporating socioeconomic measures within national-level health policy and delivery. Kind introduces a practical approach to measuring neighborhood disadvantage and discusses early applications of this tool for health care delivery.
Watch the Webinar on IRP's YouTube Channel


Jason HouleStudent Loan Debt and the Reproduction of Racial Wealth Inequality
Jason Houle
In this podcast, Jason Houle, Assistant Professor of Sociology, Dartmouth College, discusses the increase in student loan debt and its implications for racial and economic inequality in the United States. Houle notes:
"We know that for the past 10, 20, probably more like 30 years, we've seen the costs of college have increased dramatically. Federal and state aid really have not kept up with rising costs. And a big part of this story at the state level for public [institutions] is that states have pulled appropriations. We've seen a lot of states where budgets get slashed and states have become more tuition dependent. It's really been families and their adult kids who are going to college who are being asked to foot the bill and use debt to make up the widening gap between the costs of college and the families resources."
Listen to the Podcast | Read the Transcript


Rural Poverty Fifty Years After The People Left Behind:
A Research Conference Looking Backward and Forward
March 21–22, 2018, Washington, D.C.
Scholars are invited to submit abstracts by October 1, 2017, for papers that
•  examine the geography of U.S. poverty and opportunity;
•  explore the challenges that have affected the nation's progress in reducing rural poverty over the past half century;
•  examine the nation's policies and programs to reduce rural poverty, assessing the effectiveness of poverty-reducing strategies, policies and programs in rural areas; or
•  explore regional innovations in policy.
The conference is being organized and sponsored by the Rural Policy Research Institute at University of Iowa, the Institute for Research on Poverty at University of Wisconsin-Madison, Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality, and the University of Kentucky Center for Poverty Research with major funding from the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative of the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

Call for Abstracts | About the Conference

Intergenerational Transmission of Poverty: Research on the Early Years of Life"
Focus Vol. 33:2, Spring/Summer 2017
The newest issue of Focus is now available online. The articles, listed below, consider the intergenerational transmission of poverty. Leading scholars examine how family poverty affects children's life chances, the mechanisms of transmission, and the programs and policies that may reduce the effects of poverty on early development.
Intergenerational transmission of income inequality: What do we know?
by Gary Solon
Poverty and parenting young children
•  The role of parenting in the intergenerational transmission of poverty
by Ariel Kalil
•  Does increased income reduce child maltreatment?
by Lawrence M. Berger
•  Promoting school readiness through parental engagement
by Helena Duch
Poverty and K–12 schooling
•  K–12 programs to reduce the intergenerational transmission of poverty
by George Farkas
•  Interactive effects of Head Start and K–12 spending
by Rucker C. Johnson
•  Does full-day kindergarten reduce achievement gaps?
by Chloe Gibbs
•  Administrative complexity as a barrier to school choice
by Jennifer Jennings
Poverty, neighborhood, and school setting
•  Neighborhood and the intergenerational transmission of poverty
by Lincoln Quillian
•  School context, segregation, and inequality
by David Deming
•  Does schooling increase or decrease social inequality?
by Stephen Raudenbush
Poverty and childhood health
•  How childhood health affects poverty in adulthood
by Anna Aizer
•  Effects of poverty and health on children's cognitive development
by Margot Jackson
•  Medicaid and intergenerational economic mobility
by Rourke O'Brien
•  Inequality before birth: Effects of in utero pollution exposure on children's development
by Claudia Persico
Poverty and early care and education
•  What is the role of early childhood policies in fighting intergenerational transmission of poverty?
by Jane Waldfogel
•  What is "high-quality" early care and education?
by Terri J. Sabol
•  Can successful preschool programs work outside public schools?
by Christina Weiland
Links to additional readings and videos related to the articles in the issue. This resource may be particularly useful in the classroom.

Full Issue (PDF) | Articles

Julie Poehlmann-TynanAttachment Behaviors in Children with Incarcerated Fathers
Julie Poehlmann-Tynan
In this podcast, Julie Poehlmann-Tynan, Professor of Human Ecology at UW–Madison and author of the blog Kids with Incarcerated Parents, discusses important new findings about caregivers that suggest policy interventions that might be especially beneficial. In her words:
"One of the things that makes this study unique is that we actually went into the kids' homes and we talked to the caregivers, we observed the homes. We observed the interactions occurring between the children and the caregivers and we found that, indeed, like any other family in the United States, what's happening in the homes and with the caregivers is really highly predictive of how well the children are doing and even if, for example, the child had changed caregivers because of the parent's incarceration, even in those cases what's happening currently with the child in the home environment really matters."
Listen to the Podcast | Read the Transcript


Monetary Sanctions: Using Fines and Fees to Punish the Poor

July 19, 2017
1:00–2:00 pm CDT/2:00–3:00 pm EDT

Alexes Harris
Professor of Sociology, University of Washington

In this webinar, Harris will discuss the use of monetary sanctions by municipal and state courts and her conclusions that this form of punishment reinforces existing inequalities in the United States. Drawing on research from her 2016 book, Pound of Flesh: Monetary Legal Sanctions as Punishment for the Poor, Harris will describe how these kinds of fine- and fee-based punishments are used at the local level and how a different set of policies could lead to better outcomes for those involved with the criminal justice system.

Register Now | Add to Calendar


Cover page image of the 9th annual Wisconsin Poverty Report

Wisconsin Poverty Report Finds Decline in Overall State Poverty

Researchers studying the economic and policy forces that affect Wisconsin poverty found that Wisconsin gained 70,000 jobs, leading to a modest, but statistically significant reduction in poverty as measured by the Wisconsin Poverty Measure (WPM).
The more comprehensive measure of resources and needs shows statewide poverty overall dropped from 10.8% in 2014 to 9.7% in 2015, marking the lowest rate recorded since the WPM was introduced nine years ago. The job gain occurred between January 2014 and November 2015.

Full Report | Summary | Press Release


Extreme Poverty after Welfare Reform
Scott Winship
Project Director, U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee
In this podcast, Winship discusses his research about poverty trends in the United States, arguing that welfare reform in 1996 did not lead to an increase in the numbers of those in extreme poverty and that fewer people are living on $2-a-day or less than has been previously reported.

Listen | Read Transcript


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

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.

"Three from IRP" is a monthly update to the full newsletter "What's New at IRP," available on IRP's website. These newsletters inform subscribers of new publications, podcasts, seminars, webinars, a boast or two about our affiliates, and other IRP news.

To subscribe to this mailing list, e-mail join-irpwhatsnew@lists.wisc.edu; to unsubscribe, e-mail leave-irpwhatsnew@lists.edu

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.