The UC Davis Center for Poverty 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.
When measured relative to median income, poverty in the United States, at 16.3 percent, is much higher than in many industrialized, democratic countries. To explain this, scholars, politicians, and the public often focus on the risks of poverty. Risks are characteristics more common among the poor than the non-poor, like low education, unemployment, single motherhood, or young age of the head of household. In a study I conducted with David Brady and Sabine Huebgen, we found that the cause of relatively high poverty in the U.S.
Preschool interventions are arguably one of the most important elements of support for poor families. Head Start, a federal program for children in low-income families administered through the Department of Health and Human Services, is a case in point. While research shows a range of benefits lasting beyond preschool for participants, evidence of the “fade-out” of cognitive gains of the preschool years and the differential impact of the program on children with different skill levels in the preschool population has prompted debate over its efficacy.
In August eight students from historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) concluded a seven-week, intensive research program through the University of California, Davis Summer Poverty Research Engagement Experience (UCD-SPREE). Under the auspices of the program, UCD faculty provide mentorship and guidance to a select group of students to conduct research and prepare for the rigors of doctoral programs.
No group is as linked to poverty in the American mind as single mothers. For decades, politicians, journalists and scholars have scrutinized the reasons poor couples fail to use contraception, have children out of wedlock and do not marry.
The reality, however, is that single motherhood is not the reason we have unusually high poverty in the United States, compared with other rich democracies.
In March, researchers at the University of California published a pioneering study that links the “legitimizing effect” of the DACA program with participants’ improved psychological well-being in California. The state has, by far, the largest population of beneficiaries, 223,000 people out of nearly 800,000 DACA recipients nationwide.
The widely expected passage of the tax reform bill will almost undoubtedly cause significant harm to Medicare. And provocative statements by President Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan declaring that “entitlement reform” will be next threatens Medicaid. Put these two together and, I think, one thing is clear: Big Medicare and Medicaid cuts are coming.
Exclusionary immigration policies have led to a sizeable undocumented population that is largely barred from access to resources in the United States, however there is little research that looks at the impact of legal status on immigrants’ psychological wellbeing.
Brendan Price is an Assistant Professor of Economics at UC Davis. Price completed his PhD in Economics at MIT, where he specialized in labor economics and public finance. His research explores the labor market impacts of technology and trade, the consequences of being laid off, and how public policies can help workers, their families, and their communities recover from job loss. In published and ongoing work, he is analyzing how competition from Chinese imports has affected US workers and firms.
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.
Ann Huff Stevens is Deputy Director of the Center for Poverty Research and Professor of Economics at UC Davis. She studies low income workers and labor markets, the incidence and effects of job loss, connections between economic shocks and health, and poverty and safety-net dynamics.
Her current work examines returns to vocational education programs, the dynamics of EITC eligibility, and long-term effects of labor force non-participation.
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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 Director of the Center for Poverty Research. Her research includes inter-generational mobility and the impact of social programs on children’s outcomes. Recent projects include investigations of the causal relationship between parental education and children’s success in school, distributional effects of class size reduction policies, and the impact of the WIC program on young children’s health.
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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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Michelle Ko is a faculty affiliate and member of the Center for Poverty Research Executive Committee. Dr. Ko looks at how policy, healthcare, and our social structure are interconnected, and their impacts on disadvantaged communities. She has conducted research on a variety of topics, including the healthcare safety net, Medicaid, long-term care, access to healthcare for minority populations, diversity in medical education, and the healthcare workforce.