Poverty Research & Policy
The Poverty Research & Policy Podcast is produced by the University of Wisconsin-Madison's Institute for Research on Poverty (IRP) and features interviews with researchers about poverty, inequality, and policy in the United States.
info_outline William Darity Jr. and Kirsten Mullen on Why It’s Time to Pay Reparations to Black Americans 12/05/2023
William Darity Jr. and Kirsten Mullen on Why It’s Time to Pay Reparations to Black Americans Reparations for Black Americans is not a new idea—before the U.S. Civil War had ended, there was a proposal to provide freed Black people with “40 acres and a mule.” That did not materialize, and in the ensuing century and a half, the Black descendants of formerly enslaved people have faced systemic injustices, discrimination, and violence. In this episode, Professor William “Sandy” Darity, Jr. and Kirsten Mullen explain what a meaningful reparations program for Black Americans would entail, how eligibility should be determined, and why the federal government is both the “culpable and capable party.” is the Samuel Dubois Cook Distinguished Professor of Public Policy, African and African-American Studies, and Economics at Duke University. He is also an IRP Affiliate. Professor Darity's research focuses broadly on stratification; economics on inequality by race, class, and ethnicity; and the economics of reparations. is a writer, folklorist, museum consultant, and lecturer whose work focuses on race, art, history, and politics. Together they are the authors of "," and are also two of the editors of ""
info_outline Dayna Johnson on How Racism and Poverty Contribute to Sleep Disparities 11/27/2023
Dayna Johnson on How Racism and Poverty Contribute to Sleep Disparities Many people suffer from not getting enough sleep from time to time. But for many people of color and those who are living in low-income neighborhoods and housing, additional factors may contribute to chronic poor sleep quality. Those factors can have long-term impacts on their health and well-being, including higher rates of heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, obesity, and depression. In this episode, shares her research into how experiences of racism, variable work schedules, and neighborhood conditions contribute to sleep and health inequities for African Americans. Dr. Johnson is a sleep epidemiologist and Assistant Professor in the Department of Epidemiology at the Rollins School of Public Health of Emory University. Her research is aimed at understanding the causes and health consequences of sleep health disparities.
info_outline Tiffany Green on How Charging Dads for the Medicaid Costs of Their Baby’s Birth Affects Child Support 11/08/2023
Tiffany Green on How Charging Dads for the Medicaid Costs of Their Baby’s Birth Affects Child Support Wisconsin is one of a few states with a Birth Cost Recovery program, which bills unmarried, non-custodial fathers for the birth costs of their child when the mother is on Medicaid. But the impacts of these policies on the children and both parents have not been studied closely. In this episode, discusses the report that she co-authored titled, “,” which draws on IRP’s . Tiffany Green is an associate professor in the Departments of Population Health Sciences and Obstetrics and Gynecology within the School of Medicine and Public Health at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and is an IRP Affiliate.
info_outline Jamila Michener on How State Interference with Local Housing Policy Impacts Tenant Health and Racial Equity 10/24/2023
Jamila Michener on How State Interference with Local Housing Policy Impacts Tenant Health and Racial Equity Whether renters have access to safe, high-quality housing has serious implications for health and health equity. Local housing policy often focuses on community residents’ particular needs, yet state law can preempt local ordinances, frequently with detrimental results. In this episode, discusses two of her recent papers, “” and ".” Jamila Michener is an Associate Professor of Government and Public Policy at Cornell University. She studies poverty, racism, and public policy, with a particular focus on health and housing. She is Associate Dean for Public Engagement at the Brooks School of Public Policy. Dr. Michener has also been named the inaugural director of Cornell’s Racial Justice and Equitable Futures Center. She is a former IRP and a current IRP Affiliate.
info_outline Crystasany Turner on the Strengths, Challenges, and Cultural Assets of Family Child Care Professionals 10/06/2023
Crystasany Turner on the Strengths, Challenges, and Cultural Assets of Family Child Care Professionals Family child care is the care of non-relative children within the providers' home. Thirty percent of family child care professionals are women of color, and oftentimes the cultural assets they contribute to the field of early care and education are diminished or disregarded. In this episode, discusses her highlighting both the strengths and challenges faced by family child care professionals, future research, and practices to support family child care professionals. Crystasany Turner is an Assistant Professor of Early Childhood Education in the Department of Teaching and Learning at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Rooted in Black feminist epistemologies, her teaching and research focus on culturally sustaining and liberatory practices in early childhood education and teacher education.
info_outline IRP Book Talk: Zach Parolin on “Poverty in the Pandemic: Policy Lessons from COVID-19” 09/07/2023
IRP Book Talk: Zach Parolin on “Poverty in the Pandemic: Policy Lessons from COVID-19” In his new book, explores three perspectives on poverty—poverty as a risk factor, poverty as an expression of access to current resources, and poverty as a stratifying factor—and how they affected people during the COVID-19 pandemic. He advocates for policy approaches that will both prepare us for the next large-scale economic disruption and provide timely assistance when upheaval occurs, and makes the case for more frequent, and more nuanced poverty measures. Zach Parolin is an Assistant Professor of Social Policy at Bocconi University in Milan, Italy, and a Senior Research Fellow at Columbia University’s Center on Poverty and Social Policy. His new book, “,” was published by the
info_outline Manny Teodoro On Increasing Water Affordability through a Permanent Federal Water Assistance Program 08/29/2023
Manny Teodoro On Increasing Water Affordability through a Permanent Federal Water Assistance Program The federal government established a temporary water assistance program to alleviate the burden of water costs on households during the COVID-19 pandemic. Establishing a permanent water assistance program can increase long-term water affordability for households. In this episode, discusses the report he co-authored for the that assessed options for a permanent federal water assistance program and shares how extending SNAP benefits would help increase water affordability. Manny Teodoro is the Robert and Sylvia Wagner Professor at the La Follette School of Public Affairs at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. His research focuses on U.S. environmental policy and implementation, as well as utility management, policy, and finance.
info_outline Svetlana Shpiegel on Measuring Resilience Over Time Among Young Adults with Foster Care Experience 07/12/2023
Svetlana Shpiegel on Measuring Resilience Over Time Among Young Adults with Foster Care Experience There are known protective factors that can help young people exiting foster care to thrive by reducing or eliminating the challenges that they often face. By measuring resilience over time, and viewing it as “a state, not a trait,” there is more opportunity to create networks and systems to support these young people as they transition to adulthood. In this episode, discusses her co-authored paper, “,” and shares how she and her colleagues assessed sustained resilience, periodic resilience, and sustained non-resilience among young adults exiting care, and why policies like Extended Foster Care are vital. Svetlana Shpiegel is an Associate Professor at the Department of Social Work and Child Advocacy at Montclair State University. Her research interests include adolescents transitioning from foster care, child abuse and neglect, risk and resilience among vulnerable populations, and early pregnancy and parenthood among child-welfare involved youth.
info_outline Mina Addo on the Impacts of Non-Standard Work on Retirement Security 06/27/2023
Mina Addo on the Impacts of Non-Standard Work on Retirement Security While non-standard work is not a new concept, technology has fueled a recent rise in independent contracting, freelancing, temporary, on-call, and “gig" work. Much of the research on non-standard work has focused on its precarious nature and lower economic security for active workers. In her recent paper, "," turns her attention to the impacts on retirement security for the large numbers of U.S. workers are participating in non-standard work alone or in addition to traditional employment. Dr. Addo is an in residence at the Office of Planning Research and Evaluation in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. She completed her Ph.D. in social welfare at the University of Pennsylvania School of Social Policy and Practice and is a qualitative researcher with experience with mixed methods studies. This paper was funded through a from the of at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.
info_outline Brittany Battle on the Negative Impacts of Probation and Other Types of Community Supervision 05/11/2023
Brittany Battle on the Negative Impacts of Probation and Other Types of Community Supervision Probation is often considered to be a kinder, gentler alternative to incarceration. But there are significant financial and emotional costs associated with home confinement that affect not just the person who is under supervision, but their families and communities as well. In this episode, we hear from . She is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at Wake Forest University and is also the co-founder of , a grassroots organization based in Winston-Salem, NC. Dr. Battle is also an , and her project during that fellowship is to examine the experiences of low-income people and communities in diverse judicial settings and forms of community supervision and confinement.
info_outline Daniel Auguste On Barriers To Entrepreneurial Success For Low- And Middle-Income People 04/25/2023
Daniel Auguste On Barriers To Entrepreneurial Success For Low- And Middle-Income People Self-employment can be a choice, or undertaken by necessity. In the United States, on average, 10 to 12% of the labor force is engaged in some form of self-employment. That proportion can be higher in times of economic downturns, such as during the COVID-19 pandemic. But low- and middle-income workers face many obstacles to being successful in their entrepreneurial activities. In this episode, joins us to discuss the paper that he co-authored with Stephen Roll and Mathieu Despard, titled “.” Dr. Auguste explains how self-employment can bring rewards, but also entails assuming significant risks. And for low- and middle-income entrepreneurs, professional networks and access to financing and other necessary supportive services may be difficult to attain. Dr. Daniel Auguste is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at Florida Atlantic University and is currently an MLK Visiting Assistant Professor in the MIT Sloan School of Management. He is also currently an . His research interests include inequality, stratification, economic and organizational sociology, and entrepreneurship. More specifically, his research agenda seeks to understand the structural forces determining who gets what, who participates and to what level they participate in the capitalist production process.
info_outline Elizabeth Linos on Reducing Stigma To Increase Participation in Safety Net Programs 03/14/2023
Elizabeth Linos on Reducing Stigma To Increase Participation in Safety Net Programs Estimates are that 20–50% of people eligible for social safety net programs don’t access them. While there may be many factors contributing to that gap, recent research has focused on the role that stigma plays. In this episode, joins us to discuss the paper she co-authored with Jessica Lasky-Fink, titled “.” Stigma can be direct or anticipated from the wider society, including from agency workers with whom people would need to interact in order to access services. Stigmatizing messages can be internalized as shame or guilt for simply needing services. Through research with municipalities doing outreach for housing assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Linos and her colleagues found that small changes can significantly increase uptake of services simply by destigmatizing the language. Dr. Elizabeth Linos is the Emma Bloomberg Associate Professor for Public Policy and Management, and Faculty Director of at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. The majority of her research focuses on how to improve government by focusing on its people and the services they deliver. Specifically, she uses insights from behavioral science and evidence from public management to consider how to recruit, retain, and support the government workforce, how to reduce administrative burdens that low-income households face when they interact with their government, and how to better integrate evidence-based policymaking into government.
info_outline Deyanira Nevarez Martinez On The Latinx Paradox And Homelessness 02/27/2023
Deyanira Nevarez Martinez On The Latinx Paradox And Homelessness Official measures of homelessness seem to indicate that the Latinx community is less affected than most other minoritized racial groups. But this aspect of what is called “The Latinx Paradox” might in fact be due to the extent of homelessness in Latinx communities being obscured by other factors. In this episode, shares her research into the nuances of Latinx housing precarity, and why understanding the Latinx experience of homelessness is vital for effective public policy and human services provision. Dr. Nevarez Martinez is an Assistant Professor of Urban and Regional Planning at Michigan State University and a core faculty member in Chicano Latino studies. She is also an . Professor Nevarez Martinez's December 2022 .
info_outline Hope Harvey on Doubled-Up Households 12/06/2022
Hope Harvey on Doubled-Up Households In this episode, we hear from Hope Harvey about doubled-up households in the United States and why she thinks we should be paying more attention to the situations of people who are living in shared households. Professor Harvey is an Assistant Professor of Public Policy at the University of Kentucky, where she is a research affiliate at the University of Kentucky Center for Poverty Research. She's also a 2022-2023 . In the episode, Professor Harvey discusses two papers: Hope Harvey, Rachel Dunifon, and Natasha Pilkauskas. . Demography. 2021; 58(3): 821-846. Hope Harvey. . Social Problems. 2020
info_outline Jamein Cunningham on How Segregation Affects Homicide Rates 11/21/2022
Jamein Cunningham on How Segregation Affects Homicide Rates High levels of segregation can have significant impacts on communities and the individuals living in them. New research uses railroad tracks as a measure of segregation and overlays data on homicide deaths to determine if people of color living in highly segregated communities are more at risk. In this episode, shares the findings in the paper he co-authored with Robynn Cox, Alberto Ortega and Kenneth D. Whaley titled "." Cunningham is an assistant professor in the Jeb E. Brooks School of Public Policy at Cornell University and an IRP Emerging Poverty Scholar Fellow.
info_outline Nidia Bañuelos on Valuing the Skills and Assets of Lower Income and Underrepresented College Students 10/26/2022
Nidia Bañuelos on Valuing the Skills and Assets of Lower Income and Underrepresented College Students In this episode, we hear from Nidia Bañuelos about how we can better value and measure the assets that college students from low income and traditionally underserved backgrounds bring to their education and to their later careers. Bañuelos is an assistant professor in the Division of Continuing Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and an IRP Affiliate. You can find recent work from Bañuelos and colleagues on using Community Cultural Wealth (CCW) frameworks to measure assets and social networks of college students though the .
info_outline David Brady on Labor Unions and U.S. Poverty 10/11/2022
David Brady on Labor Unions and U.S. Poverty Labor unions receive relatively little attention in U.S. poverty research and our guest for this episode, Professor David Brady, says that this is an unfortunate omission. His research in a finds that being in a household with a union member and even being in a state with higher rates of union membership are both correlated with a lower likelihood of being in poverty. Brady says we should pay attention to the role of unions because "political power drives the policies you get, and the policies you get drive the amount of poverty you have in society.” is Professor of Public Policy at the University of California, Riverside.
info_outline Joseph Mullins on Valuing Parental Time and Children's Development in the Design of Cash Transfer Programs 09/15/2022
Joseph Mullins on Valuing Parental Time and Children's Development in the Design of Cash Transfer Programs When it comes to cash transfer programs like welfare for single parents and especially mothers, most of the evaluation and economic modeling efforts have focused on how those programs impact the amount of paid work single parents do. However, there's been less attention to the value of parental time and how that matters for children's development. For this podcast episode, we hear from economist of the University of Minnesota, who developed an economic model for U.S. cash transfer programs that attempts to place an accurate value on parents' time when assessing cash transfers programs. He says his model suggests a very different structure for our cash transfer programs if we want to best balance children's need for money resources and parental time for their healthy development. Link to the paper:
info_outline Nick Hillman on the Federal Student Loan Forgiveness Act 08/31/2022
Nick Hillman on the Federal Student Loan Forgiveness Act The Biden administration's has the potential to reduce the debt of approximately 43 million Americans, and almost half of those borrowers will have their debt forgiven completely. The move has prompted praise from some, and strong criticism from others. In this episode, we’re joined by , who studies educational inequality, college affordability, and student loan debt and default. Hillman is a professor in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He also directs the , which is a research-practice partnership with the university's Division of Enrollment Management and Office of Student Financial Aid. Hillman is also a faculty affiliate at IRP and at the La Follette School of Public Affairs.
info_outline Youth Trauma and Resilience in Contexts of Poverty with Noni Gaylord-Harden, Jocelyn Smith Lee, and Alvin Thomas 08/18/2022
Youth Trauma and Resilience in Contexts of Poverty with Noni Gaylord-Harden, Jocelyn Smith Lee, and Alvin Thomas IRP recently hosted , , and for a webinar conversation on Youth Trauma and Resilience in Contexts of Poverty. They discussed how a growing body of research has begun to change understandings of how toxic environments can affect young people, particularly African American boys and young men and how research, policy, and practice can incorporate these lessons. More information about the webinar can be found at .
info_outline Casey Stockstill on Economic and Racial Segregation in Preschools 07/25/2022
Casey Stockstill on Economic and Racial Segregation in Preschools For this episode, we hear from Dr. Casey Stockstill about research she did to better understand economic and racial segregation in preschools. Dr. Stockstill spent time observing in two highly rated preschools in the same city: One was a Head Start location where nearly all of the children were students of color and from lower income families and the other was a private preschool in a more affluent part of town where nearly all the students were white and from higher income families. Her observations offer insights about how inequality and segregation in early childhood education can play out in the classroom for students and their teachers.
info_outline Kathryn Edin on the 25th Anniversary of "Making Ends Meet" 06/15/2022
Kathryn Edin on the 25th Anniversary of "Making Ends Meet" 2022 marks the 25th anniversary of the publication of Making Ends Meet: How Single Mothers Survive Welfare and Low Wage Work, by Kathryn Edin and Laura Lein. The book was based on interviews with low-income single moms that took place between the late 1980s and early 1990s. Edin and Lein detailed the women's household budgets, the strategies they used to support their families, and the unforgiving choice between welfare and low-wage work. In this episode, we hear from Kathryn Edin about what she learned from talking to these mothers and about the changes in U.S. antipoverty policy in the 25 years since Making Ends Meet was published. A transcript for the episode is available at https://www.irp.wisc.edu/resource/kathryn-edin-on-the-25th-anniversary-of-making-ends-meet/.
info_outline Zawadi Rucks-Ahidiana on Race and the Financial Toolkit 06/02/2022
Zawadi Rucks-Ahidiana on Race and the Financial Toolkit Where we get information about money and how to manage it can have long-lasting impacts on financial security and wealth accumulation. While there are some commonly shared sources of information that shape our attitudes and beliefs, there are also some significant differences across racial and ethnic groups. In this episode, Dr. Zawadi Rucks-Ahidiana joins us to discuss her recent paper titled, “.” Rucks-Ahidiana is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at University at Albany, State University of New York. Her research investigates how race informs gentrification, how the news media represents gentrification, and how culture contributes to the racial wealth gap. She is also a former .
info_outline Brieanna Watters and Robert Stewart on Native Americans and Monetary Sanctions 05/16/2022
Brieanna Watters and Robert Stewart on Native Americans and Monetary Sanctions In this episode of the Poverty Research & Policy Podcast, we hear from Brieanna Watters and Robert Stewart about a paper they coauthored* on Native Americans and Monetary Sanctions involving the criminal legal system. They discuss how Native American experiences in relation to the legal system are often unique, how the rural nature of Indian Country matters when it comes to policies around fines and fees, and how their research in Minnesota finds higher levels of fines and fees for Native American defendants, particularly in areas near reservations. Watters is a Ph.D. candidate in sociology at the University of Minnesota, and Stewart is an assistant professor in the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of Maryland. *The paper discussed in the episode was coauthored by Stewart, Watters, Veronica Horowitz, Ryan Larson, Brian Sargent, and Christopher Uggen. You can find it in a special issue of RSF: The Russell Sage Foundation Journal of the Social Sciences at https://www.rsfjournal.org/content/8/2/137
info_outline José Pacas on the Puzzle of Measuring Rural Poverty in the Supplemental Poverty Measure 04/29/2022
José Pacas on the Puzzle of Measuring Rural Poverty in the Supplemental Poverty Measure In this episode, we hear from José Pacas about data challenges involved in measuring rural poverty in the Supplemental Poverty Measure or SPM and how the subtleties of poverty measurement can have real world implications for the lived experiences of low-income people in rural places. Dr. Pacas is currently serving on a National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine panel on Evaluation and Improvements to the Supplemental Poverty Measure. He is Chief of Data Science and Research at Kids First Chicago and was previously a researcher at IPUMS at the University of Minnesota. Dr. Pacas was a 2019-2020 fellow in the IRP Scholars in Residence Program.
info_outline Whitney Gent on How Homelessness is Portrayed in Movies and Why it Matters 03/21/2022
Whitney Gent on How Homelessness is Portrayed in Movies and Why it Matters People experiencing homelessness are more often part of the background in movies than featured as the protagonists. But when they are the focus of a film, the ways that they and those who feel moved to help them are portrayed can have a big impact on how the public and policymakers think about homelessness and possible solutions. In this episode, we talk with Dr. Whitney Gent about what she and her coauthor found in their analysis of films featuring homeless characters from 1983 to 2018, and in particular the concepts of visibility and agency. Gent is an assistant professor in the School of Communication at the University of Nebraska Omaha. She earned her doctorate in rhetoric, politics, and culture from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and was a graduate research fellow with IRP during her doctoral studies.
info_outline Lindsey Bullinger on Evaluating Risk of Child Maltreatment During the COVID-19 Pandemic 03/02/2022
Lindsey Bullinger on Evaluating Risk of Child Maltreatment During the COVID-19 Pandemic When the pandemic hit, many people who study child maltreatment, abuse, and neglect were worried that some children might be at greater risk due to more time at home and other factors that the pandemic could exacerbate. But at the same time, many children had less access to other adults who might be able to notice if something was wrong. For this episode, we talked with of Georgia Tech’s School of Public Policy about how she and her colleagues went about trying to measure rates of child maltreatment early in the pandemic when many families needed to stay at home.
info_outline Prentiss Dantzler on the Concept of Who Deserves to Have Access to Public Housing 02/07/2022
Prentiss Dantzler on the Concept of Who Deserves to Have Access to Public Housing In this episode, we hear from about how perceptions of who lives in public housing – and who deserves that type of support – have developed over the past century, and how that has affected the urban poor and particularly people of color. His research includes reviewing the congressional testimony around the issue of providing housing for returning World War II GIs. Dantzler is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Toronto and a former IRP Visiting Scholar.
info_outline Quentin Riser on Family Income Instability and How it Might Affect Kids' School Readiness 01/20/2022
Quentin Riser on Family Income Instability and How it Might Affect Kids' School Readiness In this episode, we hear from about how family income instability in early childhood affects children's school readiness and later outcomes. He talks about how administrative data, such as in the , can offer a more complete picture of the financial ups and downs that young families face, and how that can matter for children later on in school.
info_outline Andrea Elliott and Darcey Merritt in Conversation about Invisible Child: Poverty, Survival & Hope in an American City 01/13/2022
Andrea Elliott and Darcey Merritt in Conversation about Invisible Child: Poverty, Survival & Hope in an American City IRP recently had the privilege of hosting New York Times reporter and author and NYU Professor of Social Work for a conversation about Elliot’s book . They talked about the family in the book, the child welfare system and race, how we think about meeting the needs of children, and how we can do better.