University of Wisconsin–Madison

Poverty, Employment, and Self-Sufficiency Research Network

Key issues of inquiry for this network include labor market characteristics and dynamics; policies and strategies to combat deep poverty and non-participation in the labor market; the role of race with respect to poverty, self-sufficiency, and the labor market, including analysis of potential disparate impacts of public policies, systems, and institutional practices; policy and strategies to reduce poverty and material deprivation by encouraging work, promoting self-reliance, and enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of existing human services programs.

Co-Leads

Jennifer Romich

romich@uw.edu

Jennifer Romich is an Associate Professor of Social Work at the University of Washington. She is also the Director of the West Coast Poverty Center and an active member of the Center for Studies of Demography and Ecology. Romich studies resources and economics in families with a particular emphasis on low income workers, household budgets, and families’ interactions with public policy. Her recent poverty-related projects include ongoing research into effective marginal tax rates created by means-tested benefit schedules and the tax system; a study of the effects of highway tolls on low-income households; research into financial services used by low-income consumers; and a mixed-methods investigation of the income of families involved with the child welfare system.

Timothy Smeeding

smeeding@lafollette.wisc.edu

Timothy Smeeding is the Lee Rainwater Distinguished Professor of Public Affairs and Economics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He was Director of the Institute for Research on Poverty from 2008–2014. He was named the John Kenneth Galbraith Fellow, American Academy of Political and Social Science, in 2017, and was the founding Director of the Luxembourg Income Study. Smeeding’s recent research has been on low-income men and their role as fathers; measuring poverty within Wisconsin; monitoring social and economic mobility across generations for different types of families and children; and inequality, wealth, and poverty in a national and cross-national context.

Members

Jennifer Doleac

Jennifer Doleac is Associate Professor of Economics at Texas A&M University and Director of the Justice Tech Lab. She is also a Nonresident Fellow in Economic Studies at the Brookings Institution and a research affiliate at the University of Chicago Crime Lab and the Wilson Sheehan Lab for Economic Opportunities. Professor Doleac studies the economics of crime and discrimination, with a particular focus on how technology and surveillance affect public safety. Past and current work addresses topics such as DNA databases, gun violence, prisoner re-entry, and the unintended consequences of “ban the box” policies.

Indivar Dutta-Gupta

Indivar Dutta-Gupta is the Co-Executive Director at the Georgetown Center on Poverty and Inequality and the Economic Security and Opportunity Initiative. Previously, Dutta-Gupta was Project Director at Freedman Consulting, LLC, leading strategic initiatives for major philanthropies, children’s groups, and workers’ organizations. Dutta-Gupta served as Senior Policy Advisor at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. His work primarily focuses on federal budget and tax policies and cross-cutting low-income issues. He has also worked on issues ranging from energy and housing to national security and international development.

Darrick Hamilton

Darrick Hamilton is the executive director of the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity and Professor with the John Glenn College of Public Affairs at The Ohio State University. Hamilton is a stratification economist whose work focuses on socioeconomic stratification in education, marriage, wealth, homeownership, health (including mental health), and labor market outcomes. His recent work explores the causes, consequences and remedies of racial and ethnic inequality in economic and health outcomes, which includes an examination of the intersection of identity, racism, colorism, and socioeconomic outcomes.

Harry Holzer

Harry Holzer is a Nonresident Senior Fellow in Economic Studies at the Brookings Institution and the LaFarge SJ Professor at the McCourt School of Public Policy at Georgetown. He previously served as Chief Economist for the U.S. Department of Labor and professor of economics at Michigan State University. Holzer’s research has focused primarily on the low-wage labor market, and particularly the problems of minority workers in urban areas. His recent research surrounds job quality, workers in the labor market, and how job quality affects the employment prospects of the disadvantaged as well as worker inequality and insecurity more broadly. He has also written extensively about the employment problems of disadvantaged men, advancement prospects for the working poor, and general workforce policy.

Ann Huff Stevens

Ann Huff Stevens is Professor of Economics and Dean of the College of Liberal Arts at The University of Texas at Austin. She also is a faculty research associate with the National Bureau of Economic Research. With expertise in labor economics and public economics, she studies low-income workers and labor markets, the incidence and effects of job loss, connections between economic shocks and health, and poverty and safety-net dynamics. Her research includes studies of the relationship between job loss and health and the relationship between aggregate unemployment rates and mortality. Her current work examines returns to vocational education programs, the dynamics of EITC eligibility, and long-term effects of labor force non-participation.

Jamila Michener

Jamila Michener is an assistant professor in the Department of Government at Cornell University. Her research focuses on poverty, racial inequality and public policy in the United States. Her recent book, Fragmented Democracy: Medicaid, Federalism and Unequal Politics (Cambridge University Press) examines how Medicaid affects democratic citizenship. Fragmented Democracy assesses American political life from the vantage point(s) of those who are living in or near poverty, (disproportionately) black or Latino, and reliant on a federated government for vital resources. New work will ultimately result in a book on the determinants and consequences of unequal access to civil representation for low-income Americans and how lack of access to civil justice can deepen poverty and reproduce inequality.

Ronald Mincy

Ron Mincy is a Maurice V. Russell Professor of Social Policy and Social Work Practice, co-principal investigator of the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study, and a faculty member of the Columbia Population Research Center. Prior to this, he served as senior program officer at the Ford Foundation working on improving U.S. social welfare policies for low-income fathers, especially child support, and workforce development policies. His past work has focused on the effects of policies and programs on the roles that young, disadvantaged men play as fathers and workers. His current research interests surround child support, visitation, and health trajectories of unmarried fathers, and the effects of re-partnering by mothers or fathers on these trajectories.

David Neumark

David Neumark is the Chancellor’s Professor of Economics at the University of California, Irvine as well as the Director of the Economic Self-Sufficiency Policy Research Institute. He has been on faculty at the University of Pennsylvania and Michigan State University. He is a labor economist with broad public policy interests including: age, sex, and race discrimination; the economics of aging; affirmative action; minimum wages, living wages, and other anti-poverty policies; the economics of education; youth labor markets; and local economic development. He  has also done work in demography, health economics, development, industrial organization, and finance.

LaDonna Pavetti

LaDonna Pavetti is the Director of the Welfare Reform and Income Support Division at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. She oversees the Center’s work analyzing poverty trends and assessing the nation’s income support programs, including the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program. Before joining the Center, Pavetti spent 12 years as a researcher at Mathematica Policy Research, Inc., where she directed numerous research projects examining various aspects of TANF implementation and strategies to address the needs of the hard-to-employ. She has also served as a researcher at the Urban Institute, a consultant to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on welfare reform issues, and a policy analyst for the District of Columbia’s Commission on Social Services.

Cindy Redcross

Cindy Redcross is Deputy Director of MDRC’s Youth Development, Criminal Justice, and Employment policy area. Her expertise is in random assignment evaluations of programs that serve individuals involved in the criminal justice system. She is currently leading several projects evaluating interventions that target former prisoners and others involved in the justice system, including the U.S. Department of Labor’s multisite Enhanced Transitional Jobs Demonstration and the National Institute of Justice’s Demonstration Field Experiment. She is also leading a demonstration of a new employment-focused cognitive behavioral therapy intervention and is the Deputy Director of U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Building Bridges and Bonds project, which is testing the effectiveness of innovative strategies for working with low-income and disadvantaged fathers.

Luke Shaefer

Luke Shaefer is an Associate Professor of Social Work at the University of Michigan and also the Director of Poverty Solutions, an interdisciplinary initiative that seeks to inform, identify, and test innovative strategies to prevent and alleviate poverty. Shaefer’s research focuses on the effectiveness of the United States’ social safety net in serving low-wage workers and economically disadvantaged families. His recent work explores rising levels of extreme poverty in the United States, the impact of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program on material hardships, barriers to unemployment insurance faced by vulnerable workers, and strategies for increasing access to oral health care in the United States.

Jeffrey Smith

Jeffrey Smith is a Professor of Economics and Associate Director for Research and Training of Institute for Research on Poverty at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. His research centers on experimental and non-experimental methods for the evaluation of interventions, with particular application to social and educational programs. He has also written papers examining the labor market effects of university quality and the use of statistical treatment rules to assign persons to government programs and consulted on evaluation issues.

Michael Strain

Michael Strain is the John G. Searle Scholar and Director of Economic Policy Studies at the American Enterprise Institute. He oversees the institute’s work in economic policy, financial markets, poverty studies, technology policy, energy economics, health care policy, and related areas. Before joining AEI, Strain worked in the Center for Economic Studies at the US Census Bureau and in the macroeconomics research group at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. His research interests broadly surrounds labor economics, labor market policy, federal tax and budget policy and poverty studies. He also writes frequently for popular audiences, and his essays and op-eds have been published by The New York Times and The Washington Post.

Marci Ybarra

Marci A. Ybarra is an Associate Professor in the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration. Her research interests include poverty and inequality, social service delivery, work supports, and family well-being. Professor Ybarra conducts quantitative analysis of administrative and longitudinal survey data in addition to qualitative analysis through participant-observation and in-depth interviewing at social service agencies. She currently investigates three different areas of social policy and how these affect economically disadvantaged families by impacting both their work and family life: welfare reform, child care, and Paid Family Leave.