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  • Individual Author: Berger, Lawrence M. (ed.); Cancian, Maria (ed.); Magnuson, Katherine (ed.)
    Reference Type: Book Chapter/Book
    Year: 2018

    The 2016 presidential election has brought to the fore proposals to fundamentally restructure the U.S. anti-poverty safety net. Even though much of the current debate centers on shrinking or eliminating federal programs, we believe it is necessary and useful to explore alternatives that represent new approaches and significant innovations to existing policy and programs. This double issue of RSF: The Russell Sage Foundation Journal of the Social Sciences builds on and extends the scholarly conversation on the state of current U.S. anti-poverty policy by high-lighting a collection of related innovative and specific policy proposals for the United States. Well before the election, the authors of the articles in this volume were explicitly tasked with proposing substantially new policies solidly grounded in social science evidence that have the potential to transform anti-poverty policy. Assuming the goal to be reducing poverty among the U.S. population, we asked what new ideas should be seriously considered. The authors responded with carefully crafted proposals that tackle poverty...

    The 2016 presidential election has brought to the fore proposals to fundamentally restructure the U.S. anti-poverty safety net. Even though much of the current debate centers on shrinking or eliminating federal programs, we believe it is necessary and useful to explore alternatives that represent new approaches and significant innovations to existing policy and programs. This double issue of RSF: The Russell Sage Foundation Journal of the Social Sciences builds on and extends the scholarly conversation on the state of current U.S. anti-poverty policy by high-lighting a collection of related innovative and specific policy proposals for the United States. Well before the election, the authors of the articles in this volume were explicitly tasked with proposing substantially new policies solidly grounded in social science evidence that have the potential to transform anti-poverty policy. Assuming the goal to be reducing poverty among the U.S. population, we asked what new ideas should be seriously considered. The authors responded with carefully crafted proposals that tackle poverty from a variety of perspectives. Some of these proposals are more of a departure from existing policies than others, some borrow from other countries or revive old ideas, some are narrow in focus and others much broader, but all seek to move anti-poverty efforts into new territory. (Author abstract) 

    Contents:

    Introduction

    Anti-Poverty Policy Innovations: New Proposals for Addressing Poverty in the United States

    Lawrence Berger, Maria Cancian, and Katherine Magnuson

    Part I. Tax and Transfer Programs 

    A Universal Child Allowance: A Plan to Reduce Poverty and Income Instability Among Children in the United States

    H. Luke Shaefer, Sophie Collyer, Greg Duncan, Kathryn Edin, Irwin Garfinkel, David Harris, Timothy M. Smeeding, Jane Waldfogel, Christopher Wimer, and Hirokazu Yoshikawa

    Cash for Kids

    Marianne P. Bitler, Annie Laurie Hines, and Marianne Page

    A Targeted Minimum Benefit Plan: A New Proposal to Reduce Poverty Among Older Social Security Recipients

    Pamela Herd, Melissa Favreault, Madonna Harrington Meyer, and Timothy M. Smeeding

    Reforming Policy for Single-Parent Families to Reduce Child Poverty

    Maria Cancian and Daniel R. Meyer

    Reconstructing the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program to More Effectively Alleviate Food Insecurity in the United States 

    Craig Gundersen, Brent Kreider, and John V. Pepper

    A Renter's Tax Credit to Curtail the Affordable Housing Crisis 

    Sara Kimberlin, Laura Tach, and Christopher Wimer

    The Rainy Day Earned Income Tax Credit: A Reform to Boost Financial Security by Helping Low-Wage Workers Build Emergency Savings

    Sarah Halpern-Meekin, Sara Sternberg Greene, Ezra Levin, and Kathryn Edin

     

  • Individual Author: Hughes, Michelle; Tucker, Whitney
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2018

    Research demonstrates the correlation between childhood adversities linked to poverty and negative outcomes in adulthood, indicating that poverty may itself be considered an adverse childhood experience. Because child poverty is a result of family economic circumstance, policy investments promoting family financial health are imperative to protect child well-being and North Carolina's future prosperity. (Author abstract)

     

    Research demonstrates the correlation between childhood adversities linked to poverty and negative outcomes in adulthood, indicating that poverty may itself be considered an adverse childhood experience. Because child poverty is a result of family economic circumstance, policy investments promoting family financial health are imperative to protect child well-being and North Carolina's future prosperity. (Author abstract)

     

  • Individual Author: Smeeding, Timothy M.; Thornton, Katherine A.
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2018

    Although overall employment expanded in Wisconsin during the period of this report, poverty as measured by the Wisconsin Poverty Measure (WPM) increased. In fact, overall poverty rates in Wisconsin rose significantly in 2016, to 10.8 percent compared to 9.7 in 2015. Market income poverty (which reflects employment levels and is therefore a helpful gauge of economic health) also rose slightly, even as jobs expanded.

    Both the WPM and the official poverty rate for families with children rose by significant amounts in 2016, as the child poverty rate for the WPM reached 12.0 percent, two points higher than in 2015. The WPM for children, which takes into account resources from tax credits and noncash benefits as well as earnings, remains almost 5 percentage points below the official poverty rate for children of 16.9 percent.

    While the benefits from the safety net (especially food support and refundable tax credits) played a large role in poverty reduction, changes in participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP (called FoodShare in Wisconsin)...

    Although overall employment expanded in Wisconsin during the period of this report, poverty as measured by the Wisconsin Poverty Measure (WPM) increased. In fact, overall poverty rates in Wisconsin rose significantly in 2016, to 10.8 percent compared to 9.7 in 2015. Market income poverty (which reflects employment levels and is therefore a helpful gauge of economic health) also rose slightly, even as jobs expanded.

    Both the WPM and the official poverty rate for families with children rose by significant amounts in 2016, as the child poverty rate for the WPM reached 12.0 percent, two points higher than in 2015. The WPM for children, which takes into account resources from tax credits and noncash benefits as well as earnings, remains almost 5 percentage points below the official poverty rate for children of 16.9 percent.

    While the benefits from the safety net (especially food support and refundable tax credits) played a large role in poverty reduction, changes in participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP (called FoodShare in Wisconsin) reduced these positive effects in 2016 compared to earlier years. Other trends that decreased resources over the past two years include rising childcare and other work-related expenses for families with children, and increasing medical out-of-pocket expenses, especially for the elderly. (Author abstract)

     

  • Individual Author: Shapiro, Isaac; Trisi, Danilo
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2017

    The child poverty rate fell to a record low of 15.6 percent in 2016, a little more than half its 1967 level of 28.4 percent. This finding emerges from a new poverty series we have developed that combines the Census Bureau’s poverty data for 2016 with long-term poverty data compiled by Columbia University researchers. The new poverty series relies on the federal government’s Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM), a comprehensive yardstick that most analysts believe provides a more accurate assessment of the resources available to low-income households to meet basic needs than the “official” poverty measure does. That’s because the SPM counts the income that the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as the Food Stamp Program), rental subsidies, and other federal non-cash benefits and refundable tax credits provide, while the “official” poverty measure ignores such benefits. (Author introduction)

    The child poverty rate fell to a record low of 15.6 percent in 2016, a little more than half its 1967 level of 28.4 percent. This finding emerges from a new poverty series we have developed that combines the Census Bureau’s poverty data for 2016 with long-term poverty data compiled by Columbia University researchers. The new poverty series relies on the federal government’s Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM), a comprehensive yardstick that most analysts believe provides a more accurate assessment of the resources available to low-income households to meet basic needs than the “official” poverty measure does. That’s because the SPM counts the income that the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as the Food Stamp Program), rental subsidies, and other federal non-cash benefits and refundable tax credits provide, while the “official” poverty measure ignores such benefits. (Author introduction)

  • Individual Author: Hardy, Bradley; Smeeding, Timothy; Ziliak, James P.
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2015

    SNAP and the EITC/CTC are the largest income transfer programs available to able-bodied working poor and near-poor families, and joint participation over time in the programs has more than doubled in the past decade. We examine whether this growth in longer-term program reliance is a result of the cyclical downturn from the Great Recession, from more secular changes in employment and wages for low-skilled families, from policy changes that affected the programs generosity and access, or from the changing structure of the American family. To do so, we construct a series of two-year panels from the 1981–2013 waves of the March Current Population Survey to estimate models of two-year participation in SNAP and the EITC/CTC, and then use the parameter estimates to conduct a series of counterfactual simulations to determine how much of the growth in participation stems from cyclical, structural, policy, or demographic forces. Our estimates suggest that joint use of SNAP and the EITC/CTC is countercyclical with respect to state unemployment rates, and thus some of the growth in recent...

    SNAP and the EITC/CTC are the largest income transfer programs available to able-bodied working poor and near-poor families, and joint participation over time in the programs has more than doubled in the past decade. We examine whether this growth in longer-term program reliance is a result of the cyclical downturn from the Great Recession, from more secular changes in employment and wages for low-skilled families, from policy changes that affected the programs generosity and access, or from the changing structure of the American family. To do so, we construct a series of two-year panels from the 1981–2013 waves of the March Current Population Survey to estimate models of two-year participation in SNAP and the EITC/CTC, and then use the parameter estimates to conduct a series of counterfactual simulations to determine how much of the growth in participation stems from cyclical, structural, policy, or demographic forces. Our estimates suggest that joint use of SNAP and the EITC/CTC is countercyclical with respect to state unemployment rates, and thus some of the growth in recent years stems from higher unemployment. However, the secular decline in full-time work and concomitant rise in part-time work and out-of-the labor force status have had offsetting effects on joint participation in SNAP and the EITC/CTC, and as a result the growth in more “permanent” attachment to the programs stems mainly from changing policy. Longer-term SNAP participation without the EITC, on the other hand, is driven by both structural and cyclical factors. (author abstract)

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