The United States stands out among industrialized nations as one with high poverty and income inequality. In 2016, the supplemental poverty measure shows that 13.9% of all persons, and 15.1% of children, lived in families with incomes below the poverty level. Since the mid-1970s earnings for less skilled workers have stagnated, and real family income for the bottom 20% of the population has made no gains. At the same time, there is the related problem of declines in employment rates among prime-aged men, and more recently, women. In a recent study, Hilary Hoynes and Ankur Patel examined whether one strategy to fight poverty—the earned income tax credit (EITC)—is working.
Continue reading “Effective Policy for Reducing Poverty and Inequality? The Earned Income Tax Credit and the Distribution of Income”
Government-sponsored job training programs are believed to be essential to improve the job prospects of economically disadvantaged citizens and reduce dependence on safety net programs, but do they work? Job Corps is the main federal training program in the United States targeted at disadvantaged youth ages 16 to 24. Xuan Chen (Renmin University of China), Carlos A. Flores (California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo), and Alfonso Flores-Lagunes (Syracuse University) measure the effectiveness of Job Corps training and find a positive effect on three important outcomes—earnings, employment, and amount of public benefits received.
Continue reading “Job Corps Improves Earnings, Employment, and Use of Public Benefits…Even for Eligible Nonparticipants”
Researchers Stacy S. Kehoe and Lindsay C. Page unpack the implications of their Dell Scholars research in an article for Education Next. They find that the Dell Scholars Program improves students’ college persistence, academic performance, and likelihood of earning a bachelor’s degree.
Continue reading “Education Next Highlights JHR Dell Scholars Article”
Because experiences in early childhood are known to influence child development, preschool programs are often viewed as policy interventions with the most potential to improve the prospects of children from low-income families. In a new study, Owen Thompson (University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee) examined the impact of Head Start on a variety of socioeconomic outcomes for participants through age 48.
Continue reading “Head Start’s Long-Run Impact”
The role of psychological attributes such as hope and self-efficacy in escaping poverty has attracted increasing attention among economists, policy-makers, and development practitioners. Researchers recently borrowed a technique from clinical psychology to learn what self-portraits can tell us about the effectiveness of a child sponsorship program in the slums of Jakarta.
Continue reading “Children’s Self-Portraits Show that Child Sponsorship Increases Hope”
Study finds welfare time limits induce single moms to reduce benefit use as they dwindle—to “bank” them for future emergencies. Although most states have had welfare time limits since the 1996 Welfare Reform, it remains controversial as to how severely they affect single mothers’ behavior. Continue reading “Measuring the Effects of Welfare Time Limits”