University of Wisconsin–Madison

Researcher-Practitioner Evaluation Partnership Grants

IRP supports researcher-practitioner partnerships committed to analyzing existing program, administrative, and other data to inform the effectiveness of policies or programs targeted at or likely to affect low-income populations through its Researcher-Practitioner Evaluation Partnership Grants.

The goals of the grants are to:

  • increase rigorous rapid-response evaluations of ongoing policies and programs targeted at or likely to affect low-income populations;
  • facilitate partnerships between nationally recognized poverty researchers and governmental and nongovernmental practitioners and their agencies to produce new, actionable evidence to inform policy and practice in a short timeframe; and
  • promote two-way interactions and exchanges between the research and practice communities, thereby fostering an environment of mutual respect, learning, and shared experience.

The Researcher-Practitioner Evaluation Partnerships are provided with generous funding from The JPB Foundation.

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2019 Researcher-Practitioner Evaluation Partnership Grant Awardees

The following four projects were awarded grants for the 2019 to 2020 funding cycle:

  • an exploration of the relationship between career and technical education and postsecondary school and employment;
  • an evaluation of the impact on gun violence of a policing reform adopted by the Chicago Police Department;
  • a study of whether cost serves as an obstacle for transit use by proving free public transit to low-income residents of King County, Washington; and
  • a project to establish the Washington State Anti-Poverty Knowledge Partnership and examine the effect of wage laws on benefit receipt.

Details about the four funded projects follow below.

Increasing Individuals’ Economic Stability through Massachusetts Career and Technical Education

Shaun M. Dougherty, Daniel Kreisman, and Carrie Conaway
Shaun M. Dougherty, Daniel Kreisman, and Carrie Conaway

Principal Investigator: Shaun M. Dougherty, Associate Professor of Public Policy and Education, Vanderbilt University

Research Collaborator: Daniel Kreisman, Assistant Professor of Economics, Georgia State University

Practitioner Collaborator: Carrie Conaway, Chief Strategy and Research Officer, Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education

Objective: Further explore the relationship between career and technical education and postsecondary school and employment.

Project Description: As policy interest in career and technical education and college and career readiness has risen, research on the topic has seemed to raise more questions than it has answered. Yet, participation in career and technical education (CTE) is a promising policy lever to improve the long-term outcomes of students in public schools and to reduce inequality in long-term outcomes. This project is under a broader a multi-year consortium involving Massachusetts, titled, “A Multi-State Policy Lab to Advance Career and Technical Education.” This partnership establishes the grounding for data sharing and research policy collaboration around CTE, especially understanding whether and how CTE can help reduce inequity in educational and workforce outcomes. This study expands analysis of CTE impacts to include more schools and students and to examine outcomes in high school, college, and labor market outcomes.

Reducing Gun Violence through Precision Policing: An Evaluation of the Chicago Police Department’s Strategic Decision Support Centers

Jens Ludwig, Max Kapustin, Terrence Neumann, and Jonathan Lewin
Jens Ludwig, Max Kapustin, Terrence Neumann, and Jonathan Lewin

Principal Investigator: Jens Ludwig, Distinguished Service Professor, Director, Crime Lab, University of Chicago

Research Collaborators: Max Kapustin, Research Director, Crime Lab, University of Chicago; and Terrence Neumann, Data Scientist, Crime Lab, University of Chicago

Practitioner Collaborator: Jonathan Lewin, Chief, Bureau of Technical Services, Chicago Policy Department

Objective: Evaluate the impact on gun violence of a policing reform adopted by the Chicago Police Department (CPD).

Project Description: The social cost of gun violence in the U.S. is estimated to exceed $100 billion annually, and its direct impact is borne disproportionately by the most disadvantaged communities. In Chicago, reducing gun violence is perhaps the city’s greatest public policy priority. In 2016, 765 people were murdered—the vast majority with firearms—an increase of almost 60 percent from the previous year. In response to this surge of gun violence, the city and the CPD adopted a new policing model called a Strategic Decision Support Center (SDSC), which allows local commanders to make more targeted resource deployments by providing them with daily analysis of crime patterns in a structured briefing. This study evaluates the effort by constructing a counterfactual for each treated police district using a weighted average of untreated parts of the city.

Catching a LIFT to Opportunity: The Effects of Low-Income Transfer Fares

David Phillips, Matthew Freedman, Carrie S. Cihak, and Christina O’Claire
David Phillips, Matthew Freedman, Carrie S. Cihak, and Christina O’Claire

Principal Investigator: David Phillips, Research Associate Professor of Economics, University of Notre Dame

Research Collaborators: Matthew Freedman, Associate Professor of Economics, University of California, Irvine

Practitioner Collaborators: Carrie S. Cihak, Chief of Policy, King County Executive, Seattle, Washington; and Christina O’Claire, Assistant General Manager, King County Metro Transit, Seattle, Washington

Objective: Study whether cost serves as an obstacle for transit use by proving free public transit to low-income residents of King County, Washington.

Project Description: Reduced fare transit programs are increasingly prevalent across the U.S. This study will conduct a unique experiment in which a randomly selected group of low-income residents in King County, Washington, receive five months of free public transit to explore the extent to which cost serves as an obstacle for transit use as well as whether greater transit access affects employment and other economic outcomes. The study complements the experimental results with quasi-experimental evidence on the effects of reduced fares using the rollout and cross-neighborhood variation in take-up of the ORCA LIFT program, which provides those with incomes under than 200 percent of the poverty line with reduced-price public transit.

How Does Raising the Minimum Wage Affect Public Assistance Use?

Jennifer Romich, Scott W. Allard, Heather D. Hill, and Lori Pfingst
Jennifer Romich, Scott W. Allard, Heather D. Hill, and Lori Pfingst

Principal Investigator: Jennifer Romich, Associate Professor of Social Work, University of Washington and Director of the West Coast Poverty Center

Research Collaborators: Scott W. Allard, Professor of Public Affairs at Evans School of Public Policy and Governance at the University of Washington; and Heather D. Hill, Associate Professor of Public Policy and Governance at the University of Washington

Practitioner Collaborators: David Mancuso, Executive Director, Research and Data Analysis, Washington State Department of Social and Health Services (not pictured); and Lori Pfingst, Senior Director, Economic Services Administration, Washington State Department of Social and Health Services

Objective: Establish the Washington State Anti-Poverty Knowledge Partnership and examine the effect of wage laws on benefit receipt.

Project Description: This study takes advantage of the need for researcher-practitioner collaborations, and the timely opportunity for such a partnership to influence anti-poverty policy in Washington State, by examining the effect of substantial increases in minimum wages in Washington cities and statewide on benefit use. Partners will launch and institutionalize a Washington State Anti-Poverty Knowledge Partnership, which will employ a unique new merged data resource to (1) produce baseline descriptive analyses of the intersection between low-wage workers and public assistance use in Seattle and statewide; (2) create descriptive and rigorous quasi-experimental analyses of changes in public assistance use over the phase-in periods of the city and state wage ordinances; and (3) identify and design an evaluation for a second policy area based on emerging issues. The project will also (4) explicitly build and refine the Knowledge Partnership model for future use.