Emma Flanagan

Graduate Research Fellow and Dissertation Research Fellow


Human Development and Family Studies
School of Human Ecology
University of Wisconsin–Madison

Emma Flanagan

Emma Flanagan is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies in the School of Human Ecology. Her research interests include social safety net policy, street-level bureaucracy, and broader concerns about policy implementation.

Emma’s dissertation is titled Delivery of Social Benefits: How Families Experience the Receipt of Social Safety Net Supports. While policymakers tend to focus on the dollar amount families receive in benefits when discerning policy effectiveness, this dissertation will call needed attention to how benefit implementation and delivery matters beyond amount. My three papers will investigate perceptions of an unconditional cash transfer targeting mothers, the roles of grocery store workers in overseeing redemption of SNAP and WIC benefits, and the impacts of decreasing SNAP administrative burdens on SNAP enrollment during the pandemic. Together, these papers will contribute to our understanding of how benefit delivery processes shape the efficacy of social safety net policy.

Emma has a bachelor’s degree in psychology with minors in biology, public health, and urban poverty studies. Prior to her doctoral studies, Emma worked in the realm of housing and housing policy while serving as an AmeriCorps member in Missoula, Montana.

Date of Dissertation Research Fellowship: 2024–2025 academic year
Advisor: Sarah Halpern-Meekin

Emma Flanagan's Research Interests

  • Social safety net policy
  • Street-level bureaucracy
  • Policy implementation