The UC Davis Center for Poverty & Inequality Research
mission is to facilitate non-partisan academic research on
poverty in the U.S., disseminate this research, and train
the next generation of poverty scholars. Our research agenda
includes four themed areas of focus: labor markets and poverty,
children and intergenerational transmission of poverty, the
non-traditional safety net, and immigration.
As public-school closures have increased in number across U.S. cities, opponents have argued that the closures bring many negative consequences, such as greater local crime rates. In a recent study of the 2013 Chicago mass school closure, during which 49 elementary schools were shut, I tested this claim. Looking at each school’s status after closure (vacant, repurposed, or merged with an existing school), I found that vacancy and repurposing into a non-school were associated with decreased crime.
I investigated the maltreatment profiles of child welfare–involved children in special education, examining how those profiles influenced their internalizing and externalizing behaviors. I analyzed data on a sample of 290 children representing approximately 233,000 children involved in the child welfare system and in special education. In doing so, I applied a range of measures, including the poverty level, mental health and marital status of caregivers.
How does prolonged exposure to the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) affect children’s diet quality? In a recent study, we examined the association between duration of WIC participation and diet quality of 24-month-old children. We found that WIC participation duration was significantly associated with diet quality. Children in the high-duration group had significantly higher Healthy Eating Index 2015 total scores (59.3) than children in the low-duration group (55.3).
Though immigration policymaking has traditionally occurred at the federal level, it is increasingly prevalent at sub-national levels, too. In a recent study, we examined the adoption of these policies at the county level in the United States. Specifically, we considered the implementation of migrant labor market regularizations (LRs) between 2004 and 2014. LRs affect aspects of migrant workers’ status in labor markets and include laws and ordinances related to anti-solicitation, language access, local enforcement of federal immigration law, and employment verification.
A decade after it passed into law, a majority of Americans now support the Affordable Care Act (ACA). In a recent study, I investigated whether the policy itself, through its beneficiaries, changed public opinion and sowed the seeds of its own defense against efforts to repeal it. I found that individuals who enrolled in plans on the health insurance marketplaces had significantly more positive opinions of the ACA after implementation.
The Rural Sociological Society will honor Professor Lisa
Pruitt on Sunday, Aug. 1 with its Excellence in Research
The awards ceremony will take place virtually as part of the
society’s 83rd Annual Meeting. Pruitt also will participate
in conference panels.
The society’s Awards and Endowment Committee has lauded Pruitt’s
contributions to rural research and scholarship as “truly
unique,” noting that Pruitt has “brought important attention to
rural legal issues.”
The goal of this UCOP-funded pilot program on Child Health,
Poverty and Public Policy is to lay the foundation for a UC-wide
network of scholars who are committed to rigorous cross-training
in multiple disciplinary-specific skills and “languages” that are
necessary to produce a comprehensive understanding of the
mechanisms by which health and nutrition programs (e.g.
Although a growing number of studies suggest that providing poor
families with income supplements of as little as $1,000 per
year will improve children’s well-being, many poor children
miss important sources of income support provided through the tax
system because their parents either do not work or do not
file taxes. Accessing assistance through means-tested programs is
Do mothers’ biological responses to stress transfer to her child?
This is a question addressed in a recently published study by
Leah Hibel of UC Davis and Evelyn Mercado of UCLA. Though prior
reports have shown that mothers help their children regulate
distress through calming and soothing, there are few studies that
examine the ways in which a mother facing stress might transmit
stress to her child. This study shows that mothers transmit
stress to their infants and that mothers’ emotions appear to play
a role in this transmission.
Robert Faris uses social network analysis to investigate how
health risk behaviors, including bullying, dating violence,
substance use, and delinquency, spread through social ties and
are structured in the social hierarchies of schools.
His recent work shows that adolescents bully their own friends,
as well as schoolmates with whom they share friends, to achieve
higher social status, and examines the moderating role of network
stability in this dynamic.
Rose Kagawa is an Assistant Professor in the Department of
Emergency Medicine. Dr. Kagawa conducts research on violence
prevention and firearm policy and has particular interest in
understanding how social and environmental contexts influence
violence perpetration and victimization through the life course.
Dr. Au’s research involves the assessment of dietary intakes and
the food environment for the prevention of obesity in low-income,
racially diverse infants and children. Her focus is on
understanding how to promote healthier eating and prevent obesity
in federal nutrition assistance programs, such as the Special
Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children
and the National School Lunch Program.
Noli Brazil received his doctorate in Demography from the
University of California Berkeley in 2013, and is an Assistant
Professor in the Department of Human Ecology. His research and
teaching interests focus on the causes and consequences of
neighborhood inequality. Current research projects include
examining the interactions between neighborhoods and schools,
understanding the determinants of residential mobility and
attainment during young adulthood, and Hispanic US internal
Dr. Falbe’s research focuses on studying programmatic, policy,
and environmental interventions to prevent chronic disease and
reduce health disparities. Dr. Falbe led an evaluation of the
nation’s first soda tax in Berkeley, California. Her research has
also examined primary care nutrition and physical activity
interventions for youth, healthy retail programs, and
multi-sector community interventions to prevent obesity. Dr.
Falbe received a dual doctorate in Nutrition and Epidemiology in
2013 from Harvard University.
Gail Goodman received her degree in Developmental Psychology from
UCLA in 1977. Her areas of research expertise include welfare
recipients, foster care, and the intergenerational transmission
of attachment insecurity.
Marianne Page is a Professor of Economics and Director
of the Center for Poverty & Inequality Research at UC
Davis. She has authored numerous scholarly articles
focusing on low-income families. A labor economist, she is
an expert on intergenerational mobility and equality of
opportunity in the United States. She has also published on
issues related to the U.S.
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Leticia Saucedo received her degree, cum laude, from
Harvard Law School in 1996. Her research centers on employment
and immigration law, immigrants in low-wage workplaces and the
structural dynamics affecting their entry.
Lisa Pruitt’s areas of research include legal and policy
implications of income inequality along the rural-urban continuum
and legal aspects of declining mobility, with an emphasis on
diminishing access to higher education.
Michal Kurlaender’s work focuses on education policy and
evaluation, particularly practices that address existing
racial/ethnic and socioeconomic inequality at various stages of
the educational attainment process.
Ross A. Thompson’s research focuses on the applications of
developmental research to public policy concerns, including
school readiness and its development, early childhood
investments, and early mental health.
Paul Hastings received his degree from the University of Toronto.
His research focuses on the impact of stressors on child and
adolescent well-being, and the effects of poverty on
physiological reactivity, regulation and development of mental
and physical health problems.
Cassandra Hart is associate professor of education policy. She
evaluates the effects of school, state and national education
programs, policies, and practices on overall student achievement,
and on the equality of student outcomes. Hart’s recent work
has focused on school choice programs, school accountability
policies, early childhood education policies, and effects on
students of exposure to demographically similar teachers.
She is also interested in the effects of virtual schooling on
student outcomes, both in K-12 and post-secondary settings.
Giovanni Peri received his degree in Economics from UC Berkeley
in 1998. His research focuses on the determinants of
international migrations and their impact on labor markets,
productivity, and investments.
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Housing has historically been central to the lives of
impoverished communities. For several decades, however, scholars
of poverty had not fully appreciated how housing dynamics shape
the life conditions of people in low-income communities. In
recent years, many countries (including the U.S.) have
experienced an acute housing crisis that placed a significant
burden on poor families. In response to these developments,
scholars of poverty have begun to explore the prevalence,
sources, and consequences of housing insecurity for low-income
families and communities.