Policy Briefs

Overview

Policy Briefs

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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. 

Image of Deportees Will Risk Harsh Penalties to Return to Families in the U.S.

Deportees Will Risk Harsh Penalties to Return to Families in the U.S.
By Erin R. Hamilton, UC Davis

Despite significant efforts to deter unauthorized immigration, repeat migration to the United States following deportation is common. In a new study, my co-authors and I examined how having family in the U.S. affects the intent to return among migrants deported to El Salvador. We found that being separated from their families in the U.S. is the most important factor in the intent to return, even despite the severe penalties if caught.

Image of Reporting Domestic Violence Improves Long-term Achievement of Affected Children and Their Peers

Reporting Domestic Violence Improves Long-term Achievement of Affected Children and Their Peers
By Scott E. Carrell, UC Davis; Mark H. Hoekstra, Texas A&M; and Elira Kuka, UC Davis

Domestic violence is a significant problem in the U.S. It leads to serious medical and emotional costs for victims and their children, but also has important negative spillovers. Our new work finds that exposure to a higher proportion of peers experiencing domestic violence during primary school leads to lower academic achievement in the long-run, even after moving to schools with a mixed peer composition. 

Image of Improve Water Quality in Rural Immigrant Communities

Improve Water Quality in Rural Immigrant Communities
By Caitlin French, Lucia Kaiser, Rosa Gomez-Camacho, UC Davis; Cathi Lamp, University of California Cooperative Extension; and Adela de la Torre, UC Davis

With obesity affecting over a third of the U.S. population,  public health advocates—including first lady Michelle Obama—have called to “drink up” on water instead of sugary beverages. In new work, supported by the Center for Poverty Research, we find that low-quality drinking water is a potential barrier to reducing the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages in high-poverty rural immigrant communities.

Image of School Closures and Redistricting Can Reproduce Educational Inequality

School Closures and Redistricting Can Reproduce Educational Inequality
by Daphne Penn, Harvard University

In recent years, inner-city school districts have worked to balance budgets despite funding cuts and unpredictable enrollment due to demographic changes. While redistricting—the process of changing school boundaries, closing and/or consolidating schools—can effectively address budget and enrollment problems, it can disproportionally affect disadvantaged students and families. 

Image of Exploitation, Poverty and Marginality among Unaccompanied Migrant Youth

Exploitation, Poverty and Marginality among Unaccompanied Migrant Youth
by Stephanie Lynnette Canizales, University of Southern California

With unauthorized youth at the forefront of immigration reform discourse and policy proposals, understanding the diversity of their profiles and experiences is necessary to create holistic immigration policies.

Image of The EITC Does Not Automatically  Stabilize Income for All in a Recession

The EITC Does Not Automatically Stabilize Income for All in a Recession
by Marianne Bitler, UC Irvine; Hilary Hoynes, UC Berkeley and Elira Kuka, UC Davis

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.

Image of State Public Insurance Reduced the Incentive to Work among Childless Adults

State Public Insurance Reduced the Incentive to Work among Childless Adults
by Laura Dague, Texas A&M University; Thomas DeLeire, Georgetown University and Lindsey Leininger, University of Illinois at Chicago

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.

Image of Poverty during Childhood and  Adolescence May Predict Long-term Health

Poverty during Childhood and Adolescence May Predict Long-term Health
by Natalie Troxel and Paul Hastings, UC Davis

Growing up in poverty may have long-term impacts beyond the chance of a better financial future. The stress of early-life poverty may in fact be associated with serious health problems well into adulthood.

Ongoing research by Center Graduate Student Fellow Natalie Troxel and Faculty Affiliate Paul Hastings examines the association between poverty and compromised adult health, which may have implications for healthcare costs in the U.S.

Image of Low-wage Work Uncertainty often Traps Low-wage Workers

Low-wage Work Uncertainty often Traps Low-wage Workers
by Victoria Smith and Brian Halpin, UC Davis

Some policy analysts, policymakers and scholars argue that low-wage workers should “work their way out of poverty” by acquiring the human capital that would enable them to leave poverty-level jobs.

Image of California’s School Finance Reforms Target More Funding to Poor Students

California’s School Finance Reforms Target More Funding to Poor Students
by Heather Rose and Margaret Weston, UC Davis

In July 2013, California Governor Jerry Brown overhauled the state’s school finance system, which has long been criticized for its complexity and failure to meet student needs. The prior system generally did provide more revenues to districts serving many disadvantaged students, but the new Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) dramatically increases the state’s investment in those districts, and creates a more transparent and equitable school finance system.

Image of After the Great Migration: Inheriting Disadvantage by Staying in Place

After the Great Migration: Inheriting Disadvantage by Staying in Place
by Patrick Sharkey, New York University

From 1900 through the 1960s, millions of black Americans moved northward during The Great Migration toward economic opportunity and away from Jim Crow in the South. However, over the last few decades many of those destination cities in the north have fared poorly.

Image of Payday Loans Increase SNAP, Reduce Child Support Payments

Payday Loans Increase SNAP, Reduce Child Support Payments
by Brian T. Melzer, Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University

There has been considerable debate about whether payday lending alleviates or exacerbates financial distress. On the one hand, payday loans can help a family weather shocks to household income or expenditures. Many argue, however, that these high-cost loans lead to greater financial difficulties in the long run.

Image of Immigrant Mothers, Community Organizations and Poverty

Immigrant Mothers, Community Organizations and Poverty
by Dina Okamoto and Valerie Feldman, UC Davis; and Melanie Jones Gast, DePaul University

Community-based organizations (CBOs) serve low-income immigrants who face significant barriers to public aid. An increasing proportion of these populations includes families with children who live in poverty. 

Image of Ethnic Concordance May Not Promote Patient-centered Care

Ethnic Concordance May Not Promote Patient-centered Care
by Ming-Cheng Miriam Lo and Roxana Bahar, UC Davis

In recent years, ethnic concordance—matching the ethnicity of healthcare workers to that of their patients—has been promoted as an important measure for achieving “patient-centered care” for minority patients in the U.S.

Image of Nearby Role Models May Lead to Poorer Health

Nearby Role Models May Lead to Poorer Health
by Elyse Kovalsky, 2012 Visiting Graduate Scholar

Health problems, such as diabetes, are often considered the result of either genetics or individual choices. In fact, our network of family, friends and co-workers can have a major impact on how we measure and manage our health.

Image of The Impacts of Gender and Income on Career and Technical Education

The Impacts of Gender and Income on Career and Technical Education
by Mary Cashen, 2012 Visiting Graduate Scholar

For decades, high school students have taken technical training classes that prepare them for jobs, but little research has examined the impact these classes have on whether those students go to college.

Image of Adjusting Weighted Pupil Funding for Concentrated Poverty in California Schools

Adjusting Weighted Pupil Funding for Concentrated Poverty in California Schools
by Margaret Weston, UC Davis

The California state legislature’s 2013 budget deal included an overhaul of the state’s school finance system, which has long been criticized for being inequitable, inadequate and overly complex. 

Image of Unemployment Insurance Reduced Child Poverty During the Great Recession

Unemployment Insurance Reduced Child Poverty During the Great Recession
by Caren A. Arbeit, 2012 Visiting Graduate Scholar

Unemployment Insurance is generally considered an individual benefit for a displaced worker. Yet that income makes a difference for a displaced worker’s family as well, especially for children.

Policy Brief Read More Marianne Page
Image of Small Class Sizes Yield Higher Test Scores Among Young Children

Small Class Sizes Yield Higher Test Scores Among Young Children
Marianne Page, UC Davis; and Erika Jackson, University of California Office of the President

Smaller classes help students, many argue, especially those most “at risk.” Research shows that on average this is true. However, when “risk” is defined beyond ethnicity or socioeconomic status, the picture of who most benefits becomes less clear.

Image of Private Schools & Public Options Help Predict Which Families Use Vouchers

Private Schools & Public Options Help Predict Which Families Use Vouchers
By Cassandra M.D. Hart, UC Davis

Research suggests that violence and low academic performance in public schools play a big role in a family’s decision to use state-funded vouchers to send their children to a private school. However, little research has considered the impact of nearby private and public school markets.

Image of The Supplemental Poverty Measure: A Better Measure for Poverty in America?

The Supplemental Poverty Measure: A Better Measure for Poverty in America?
By Anupama Jacob, 2012 Visiting Graduate Scholar

In 2012, the U.S. Census Bureau reported that around 46 million or one in seven residents lived in poverty.  However, the very term “poverty” continues to evoke debates on what it means to be poor. 

Image of The Great Recession and Greater Disparities in Employment and Earnings

The Great Recession and Greater Disparities in Employment and Earnings
By Hilary Hoynes and Douglas Miller, UC Davis; and Jessamyn Schaller, University of Arizona

In the recent recession, unemployment nearly doubled to 9.5 percent by mid-2009.  This figure is powerful in and of itself, but does not tell the whole story.

Image of Transitions into & out of Poverty in the United States

Transitions into & out of Poverty in the United States
By Ann Huff Stevens, UC Davis

Transitions into and out of poverty often happen after major events such as marriage, divorce, or changes in income. They are also associated with economic factors, such as unemployment rates or wages. 

Policy Brief Sign-up for e-News Read More J. Edward Taylor
Image of U.S. Farms and the Dwindling Labor Supply from Mexico

U.S. Farms and the Dwindling Labor Supply from Mexico
By J. Edward Taylor and Diane Charlton, UC Davis

For an extended period now, U.S. farms have enjoyed an abundance of workers from Mexico who work for stable or decreasing real wages. However, since 2008 the overall number of these farm workers, both these working in the U.S. and those who remain in Mexico, has shrunk substantially.

Image of State Health Insurance Policy and Insuring Immigrant Children

State Health Insurance Policy and Insuring Immigrant Children
By Erin R. Hamilton and Ethan Evans, UC Davis

One in five children in the United States is the child of immigrants. These new Americans, most of whom are U.S. citizens, are more than twice as likely as children of natives to have no health insurance. Prior research has shown that differences in income or employment between native and immigrant parents do not account for the disparity in coverage.

Image of Immigrant Workers, Native Poverty and Labor Market Competition

Immigrant Workers, Native Poverty and Labor Market Competition
By Giovanni Peri, UC Davis

Those who come to the United States looking for work compete with some groups of native-born workers but complement others. Since wages and the local poverty rate play a part in how many arrive, it is a challenge to quantify the effect they in turn have on both, and whether they push native workers below the poverty line.

Image of Linking EITC Income to Real Health Outcomes

Linking EITC Income to Real Health Outcomes
By Hilary W. Hoynes, Douglas L. Miller and David Simon, UC Davis

Linking income and health has been a notorious challenge for researchers. With multiple sources of income such as earnings, cash transfer and near cash transfer programs, it is difficult to isolate their effects on health. The 1993 expansion to the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), the largest and most recent of federal expansions to date, provided researchers a unique opportunity.

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