The Non-traditional Safety Net: Health & Education

Overview

The Non-traditional Safety Net: Health & Education

The U.S. safety net has changed substantially in the past two decades. The role of direct cash assistance has diminished, while the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) has expanded. Traditional forms of non-cash assistance such as Food Stamps, WIC, and Head Start comprise a larger share of the safety net than ever before.

See below for more information on research projects and other resources related to this topic.

Overview

Research on the Non-traditional Safety Net: Health & Education

The U.S. safety net has changed substantially in the past two decades. The role of direct cash assistance has diminished, while the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) has expanded. Traditional forms of non-cash assistance such as Food Stamps, WIC, and Head Start comprise a larger share of the safety net than ever before.

Our Research Affiliates are finding that many non-cash programs make a substantive difference in families’ well-being, even if these programs do not increase families’ cash income. Affiliates also actively pursue research agendas that embrace a broader set of programs that assist low income groups such as education and health care programs. Many of these programs have not traditionally been considered part of the safety net but play a crucial role affecting poor families’ well-being.

Article Sign up for e-news Michal Kurlaender

Charting Students’ Pathways out of Poverty
Education Researcher Studies the Pipeline from Middle School to College and Jobs

By Alex Russell

In the classroom at Kit Carson Middle School in Sacramento, Michal Kurlaender sits at one of four small desks pushed to face each other. The walls are papered in yellow, red and bright blue, and wavy corrugated borders frame a flutter of papers under the banner “AMAZING.”

Kurlaender is interviewing a teacher as part of her evaluation of the school’s teacher development program to improve students’ college readiness skills. The sudden, grating buzz of the class bell startles everyone. Kurlaender smiles. “It’s nicer when it’s the music instead,” she says.

Article Michal Kurlaender

Mismatch And The Paternalistic Justification For Selective College Admissions
Michal Kurlaender, University of California, Davis & Eric Grodsky, University of Wisconsin

Center Executive Committee Member & Faculty Affiliate Michal Kurlaender and colleague Eric Grodsky have garnered a lot of attention, especially in light of the recent Supreme Court Ruling on affirmative action in Fisher v. University of Texas. This paper is forthcoming in Sociology of Education

Overview

Policy Briefs on the Non-Traditional Safety Net: Health & Education

These briefs are short and informative analyses of our research relating to poverty policies. Policy Briefs deliver our cutting-edge research directly to policy makers, researchers, and stakeholders in an accessible format. 

Strategies among Latina Nurses Providing Care to Co-ethnic Patients
By Emerald T. Nguyen and Ming-Cheng M. Lo, UC Davis

Hospitals and clinics frequently rely on bicultural healthcare workers as cultural brokers to offer translation and other assistance to help low-income immigrant patients overcome cultural barriers to healthcare. In a new study, we find that Spanish-bilingual nurses navigate complex relationships with their Latino patients in medical institutions with assorted regulations and often limited resources. They do so by developing diverse care strategies.

Employers Don’t Prefer For-profit Degrees over Degrees from Community Colleges
By Paco Martorell, UC Davis; Rajeev Darolia and Cory Koedel, University of Missouri; and Katie Wilson and Francisco Perez-Arce, Pardee RAND Graduate School

Students raising hands in a college classroom

In recent years, for-profit colleges have seen sharp increases in enrollment despite public community colleges being much cheaper. In a recent study,[1] we sent almost 9,000 fictitious resumes of young job applicants who recently completed their schooling to online job postings in seven major U.S. cities across six occupational categories to track employer callback rates. We find no evidence that employers prefer applicants with resumes listing a for-profit college relative to those whose resumes list either a public community college or no college at all.

Support from Family Does Not Replace the Social Safety Net
By Ellen Whitehead, Rice University

Discussions of the safety net available to families in poverty overwhelmingly focus on government assistance programs. An additional component of how many families make ends meet is with support from their private networks, especially from parents, grandparents, or extended family. For some, this “private safety net” can support material needs not sufficiently met though earnings and public assistance.[1] However, some individuals may lack connections to family members who can provide such support. Understanding how access to a private safety net varies by group is key to assessing kin support’s role in alleviating material hardship.

Overview

Podcasts on the Non-Traditional Safety Net: Health & Education

Center podcasts are a great way to keep up with today’s poverty research and public policy. We record most of our conference presentations and talks by our seminar speakers. We also produce exclusive content, such as our Poverty in Focus series, as well as expert discussions on research.

Reducing Inequality through Education
Michal Kurlaender in conversation with David Figlio

In this podcast, David Figlio and Michal Kurlaender discuss how inequality before a child is even born can compound across a lifetime, and the difference high-quality schools can make for low-income children. 

Information Access and Student Achievement
Cassandra M.D. Hart in conversation with Peter Bergman

In this podcast, Peter Bergman and Cassandra M.D. Hart  discuss how access to timely, actionable information about how students are performing in school can help parents keep their kids on track. 

Podcast

Is Tinkering with Safety Net Programs Harmful to Beneficiaries? Evidence from the Medicaid Notch and the Minimum Wage
Jeffrey Clemens, University of California, San Diego

In this presentation, Jeffrey Clemens discusses his work on how the Great Recession affected employment and income for low-skilled workers. Clemens is an assistant professor in the Department of Economics at UC San Diego.

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