The Non-traditional Safety Net: Health & Education

Overview

The Non-traditional Safety Net: Health & Education

The U.S. safety net has changed substantially in the past two decades. The role of direct cash assistance has diminished, while the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) has expanded. Traditional forms of non-cash assistance such as Food Stamps, WIC, and Head Start comprise a larger share of the safety net than ever before.

See below for more information on research projects and other resources related to this topic.

Overview

Research on the Non-traditional Safety Net: Health & Education

The U.S. safety net has changed substantially in the past two decades. The role of direct cash assistance has diminished, while the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) has expanded. Traditional forms of non-cash assistance such as Food Stamps, WIC, and Head Start comprise a larger share of the safety net than ever before.

Our Research Affiliates are finding that many non-cash programs make a substantive difference in families’ well-being, even if these programs do not increase families’ cash income. Affiliates also actively pursue research agendas that embrace a broader set of programs that assist low income groups such as education and health care programs. Many of these programs have not traditionally been considered part of the safety net but play a crucial role affecting poor families’ well-being.

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Cash for Kids
Marianne P. Bitler, Annie Laurie Hines, Marianne Page (Affiliates in Economics)

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 also challenging.

Article

Exposure to Same-Race Teachers and Student Disciplinary Outcomes for Black Students in North Carolina
Constance A. Lindsay, American University and Cassandra M. D. Hart, University of California, Davis

Girl at the chalkboard

In this paper Constance Lindsay and Cassandra Hart find consistent evidence that exposure to same-race teachers is associated with reduced rates of exclusionary discipline for Black students.

Overview

Policy Briefs on the Non-Traditional Safety Net: Health & Education

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. 

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School Closures Disproportionately Affect Disadvantaged Communities
By Noli Brazil, University of California, Davis

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.

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Welfare-Involved Children in Special Education Most Likely to Suffer Supervisory Neglect
By Kevin A. Gee, University of California, Davis

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.

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WIC Participation Linked to Higher Diet Quality Among Young Children
Nancy Weinfield, Mid-Atlantic Permanente Research Inst; Christine Borger, Westat; Lauren Au, UC Davis; Shannon Whaley, Public Health Foundation Enterprises WIC; Danielle Berman, US Dept Ag Food & Nutrition; Lorrene Ritchie, UC Div of Ag & Nat Resources

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).

Overview

Podcasts on the Non-Traditional Safety Net: Health & Education

Center podcasts are a great way to keep up with today’s poverty research and public policy. We record most of our conference presentations and talks by our seminar speakers. We also produce exclusive content, such as our Poverty in Focus series, as well as expert discussions on research.

Reducing Inequality through Education
Michal Kurlaender in conversation with David Figlio

In this podcast, David Figlio and Michal Kurlaender discuss how inequality before a child is even born can compound across a lifetime, and the difference high-quality schools can make for low-income children. 

Information Access and Student Achievement
Cassandra M.D. Hart in conversation with Peter Bergman

In this podcast, Peter Bergman and Cassandra M.D. Hart  discuss how access to timely, actionable information about how students are performing in school can help parents keep their kids on track. 

Podcast

Is Tinkering with Safety Net Programs Harmful to Beneficiaries? Evidence from the Medicaid Notch and the Minimum Wage
Jeffrey Clemens, University of California, San Diego

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.