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Overview

Our Mission

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.

In the News

Article J. Paul Leigh

Want to fix inequality, Democrats? The answer is wages, not education
Editorial by Affiliate J. Paul Leigh

Chef at industrial kitchen in restaurant feeling burnt out (Getty Images/ljubaphoto)

Salon
January 21, 2024


Just as the Republicans’ default solution to any domestic problem is “lower taxes,” Democrats insist on “more education, especially college education.” But this obsession with education is misplaced, and in some cases actually harmful to the project of building “a more perfect union.” A better tactic for Democrats would be to raise wages through government policies, especially those aimed at workers without college educations. 

New Infographic Summarizing Preliminary Results from the UC Davis research team that is evaluating the Yolo County Basic Income
Featuring work by CPIR Affiliates Catherine Brinkley, Daniel Choe and Rose Kagawa

In 2022, Yolo County Health and Human Services Agency(HHSA) launched the Yolo County Basic Income (YOBI)project and engaged the UC Davis Center for Regional Change to evaluate the project via the collection of survey data from YOBI participants. The YOBI project was designed to address the county’s poverty, which is ~25%higher than the California rate reported in the 2021 Census.

Current Research

New Infographic Summarizing Preliminary Results from the UC Davis research team that is evaluating the Yolo County Basic Income
Featuring work by CPIR Affiliates Catherine Brinkley, Daniel Choe and Rose Kagawa

In 2022, Yolo County Health and Human Services Agency(HHSA) launched the Yolo County Basic Income (YOBI)project and engaged the UC Davis Center for Regional Change to evaluate the project via the collection of survey data from YOBI participants. The YOBI project was designed to address the county’s poverty, which is ~25%higher than the California rate reported in the 2021 Census.

Article J. Paul Leigh

New Paper from CPIR Affiliate J. Paul Leigh
American Journal of Public Health
May 2023

COVID-19 May Have Been Job Related for One Fourth of Diagnosed Adults

We catch COVID-19 from each other. The fewer people we encounter,
the safer we will be. Our desire for fewer encounters was especially apparent in employment arrangements during the first two and a half years
of the pandemic. Most workers whom employers allowed to work from home did so; most whose employers did not allow this reported to their workplaces.

Article J. Paul Leigh

Estimating Effects of Wages on Smoking Prevalence Using Labor Unions as Instrumental Variables
New article by J. Paul Leigh

Objectives: To test for the effects of wages on smoking using labor unions as instrumental variables. Methods: We analyzed four waves of the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (2013 to 2019 alternate years). The overall sample included workers aged 18 to 70 years in 2013 and subsamples within blue clerical/white-collar and private/public sector jobs (N = 37,117 to 8446 person years). We used two instrumental variables: worker’s union membership and states’ right-to-work laws.

Meet the Researchers

Faculty Spotlight: Erin Hamilton
Professor of Sociology

Interests

Migration and health.

Poverty and Inequality Research

A major question that motivates Erin’s research is how inequality is generated and/or changed through migration and the policies that regulate migration. Erin has studied:

Faculty Spotlight: Daniel Ewon Choe
Associate Professor of Human Development & Family Studies within the Department of Human Ecology

Interests

Children’s development of self-regulation and behavior problems, how they relate to parents’ mental health and parenting, and their contributions to mental illness in childhood and adolescence.

Profile

Briana Ballis
Assistant Professor of Economics, University of California-Merced

Briana Ballis is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Economics at the University of California-Merced. Her research interests are in labor economics. Much of her work focuses on studying the determinants of inequality in education. Through her work, she seeks to better understand how individuals’ educational investment decisions are shaped by their environments and backgrounds, and, in particular how policies or programs that impact vulnerable youth can sere to reduce (or exacerbate) pre-existing gaps in later life.

Profile

Katheryn Russ
Professor of Economics

Katheryn Russ has expertise in open-economy macroeconomics and international trade policy. She is a faculty research associate in the National Bureau of Economic Research International Trade and Investment Group and Co-Organizer of the International Trade and Macroeconomics Working Group. She is a Non-Resident Senior Fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics and served as Senior Economist for International Trade and Finance for the White House Council of Economic Advisors 2015-16.

(530) 752-9241
Profile

Robert Faris
Professor of Sociology

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. 

Profile

Rose Kagawa
Assistant Professor, Department of Emergency Medicine

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.

Profile

Lauren Au
Assistant Professor of Nutrition

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.

3215 Meyer Hall
Profile

Noli Brazil
Associate Professor of Community & Regional Development

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 migration.

Profile

Jennifer Falbe
Associate Professor of Nutrition and Human Development

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.

Profile

Gail Goodman
Distinguished Professor of Psychology

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.

152 Young Hall
Davis, CA
(530) 752-6981
Profile

Marianne Page
Professor of Economics and Co-Director, Center for Poverty & Inequality

Marianne Page is a Professor of Economics and Co-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.

1138 Social Sciences & Humanities Building
Davis, CA
(530) 554-4940
Profile

Leticia M. Saucedo
Professor of Law

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.

2123 King Hall
Davis, CA
(530) 752-3426
Profile

Lisa R. Pruitt
Professor of Law

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.

1111 King Hall
Davis, CA
(530) 752-2750
Profile

Michal Kurlaender
Professor of 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.

127 School of Education Building
Davis, CA
(530) 752-3748

Ross A. Thompson
Distinguished Professor of Psychology

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.

279 Young Hall
Davis, CA
(530) 754-6663
Profile

Ming-Cheng Lo
Professor of Sociology

Ming-Cheng Miriam Lo’s poverty related research focuses on the health care experiences of low-income immigrants. 

2266 Social Sciences and Humanities Building
Davis, CA
Profile

Paul Hastings
Professor of Psychology

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.

283 Young Hall
Davis, CA
(530) 297-4438
Profile

Cassandra Hart
Associate Professor of Education

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.

(530) 752-5387
Profile

Giovanni Peri
Professor of Economics

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.

1140 Social Sciences & Humanities Building
Davis, CA
(530) 554-2304

Upcoming Events

Event 2203 SS&H Andrews Conference Room

Consequences of Place-Based Affirmative Action: Willingness-to-Pay for Public Exam Schools
Rene Crespin, Michigan State University

Rene Crespin is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Economics at Michigan State University. His research focuses on examining levers that lessen or exacerbate inequality, specifically in terms of schools, housing, and neighborhoods. Among his ongoing projects, he studies the economic and social impacts of education and immigration policies.

Dr. Crespin will be joining us for a week through the Institute for Research on Poverty Visiting Scholar Program.