Labor policies and safety net programs make a difference for low-wage workers in the U.S. Minimum wage laws ensure a minimum for earnings, and safety net programs like the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program supplement incomes for workers who don’t earn enough to meet basic needs. Learn more here about policies that impact low-wage workers.
This presentation features UC Davis economist Giovanni Peri discussing why immigrants from Mexico and Central America are more reliant on wages and less reliant on public safety net programs, yet are still much more likely to be poor than those born in the US.
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.
Paid Family Leave (PFL) provides income for workers to take time off to care for a newborn or sick loved one. The U.S. is the only industrialized country without national PFL. Moreover, job-protected leave is not universal. A large body of research on policies outside the U.S. suggests that paid and protected leave help workers remain in the labor force. Increasing researchers’ access to governmental administrative data would further show how to improve these policies for U.S. workers. Limited existing data from California PFL show that the majority of new mothers do not take advantage of this policy, and that take-up is even lower among low-wage women.
This special podcast report describes a new study by center director Ann Stevens and graduate student affiliate Chloe East that examines how many workers at or near the minimum wage still rely on safety net programs to help their families get by. Listen now.
During the most recent economic recession in the U.S., many parents lost their jobs. When a parent loses a job, it can impact their child’s well-being in complex ways. In a new study, we sought to understand how a parent losing a job affects their children’s health. We found that after a job loss, an increase in public coverage offset much of the decrease in private coverage. In addition, we found almost no effects on children’s use of routine health care services and no evidence that job loss negatively affects children’s physical health in the short run. However, we do find that parental job loss results in a deterioration of mental health for some children, which may have negative implications for child health in the long run.
Some safety net programs, such as unemployment insurance (UI) and food stamps (SNAP), have shown to automatically stabilize income during financial downturns. The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) raises millions of American workers out of poverty, but its impact in times of crisis has not been explored.
Public insurance can provide needed medical coverage for those who cannot afford it. Considering that private insurance is often bound to employment, a public option could have an impact on the labor market if it reduces incentives to work.
In this May 2012 seminar, Visiting Scholars Katherine S. Newman and Rourke O’Brien discuss the way we tax the poor in the United States, particularly in the American South, where poor families are often subject to income taxes, and where regressive sales taxes apply even to food for home consumption.