2011-12 Small Grants for Poverty Research Awarded

Have Family Planning Programs Reduced Child Poverty?
Martha J. Bailey, University of Michigan

This project will provide the first evidence of preventative family planning programs’ impact on child poverty. Building upon an established research design using 15-percent restricted samples of the U.S. census, the project will quantify the local average treatment effects of preventative family planning and the longer-term returns to federal investments in Title X programs. Project estimates will inform the current policy debate about the efficacy of cutting Title X funding.

The Effect of Public Insurance Eligibility for Childless Adults on their Labor Supply
Thomas DeLeire, University of Wisconsin-Madison
(Co-PI: Lindsey Leininger)

This project seeks to provide the first plausibly causal estimates of the effect of Medicaid eligibility on the employment and earnings of non-elderly, non-disabled adults without dependent children (“childless adults”). The research design takes advantage of the sudden imposition of an enrollment cap to compare the labor supply of enrollees with applicants placed on a waitlist. The results of the study will inform policymakers in preparation for the major expansions in public insurance coverage of childless adults expected under the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). 

Suburban Poverty and Immigrant Integration
Roberto G. Gonzales, University of Chicago
(Co-PI’s: Jacob Lesniewski and Benjamin J. Roth)

This project will address the shift of immigrant settlement so the suburbs, and will provide an analysis of how local anti-poverty organizations are mediating the incorporation of low‐income immigrant newcomers. At no other time in history have American suburbs been home to a greater share of low‐income and foreign‐born residents relative to the urban core. While immigrants are more likely to experience poverty, they are less likely to access public benefits designed to help the poor; therefore, this study moves the locus of attention from considerations of a public non‐cash safety net to local ethnic organizations that address daily needs, and training, education and advocacy to uncover best practices for policy makers.

Spillovers from Costly Credit
Brian T. Melzer, Northwestern University

This project examines how credit access – specifically, access to payday loans – affects food stamp usage and child support payments among low- to moderate-income households. The expansion of credit to low- and moderate-income households was a notable development of the 2000s, with substantial growth not only in mortgage credit but also in short-term, unsecured credit: overdraft loans provided by banks and cash advances provided by so-called payday lenders. Recent experience in the housing market suggests that there were substantial spillover costs from the mortgage credit boom, costs borne by taxpayers who have funded mortgage modification subsidies and bank bailouts, and by neighbors whose home values have declined with nearby foreclosures. This project will contribute to the body of poverty literature regarding private credit access and its impact on public assistance.

Linked Lives and Linked Places: Using Data on Four Generations of Geographic Migration to Identify the Effects of Residential Segregation
Patrick Sharkey, New York University

This project is designed to advance research on the causes of the racial mobility gap by focusing attention on the places that African Americans have lived over the past several generations, with a particular focus on exposure to residential segregation. The goal in this research project is to move beyond the common approaches used to study the relationships between cities, neighborhoods, and the reproduction of economic inequality, and draw on a unique source of data on four consecutive generations of black and white families in order to map and analyze the network structure of intergenerational migration of families over the past century. In this way, the research is designed to advance knowledge on how children’s residential environments may contribute to the intergenerational transmission of poverty.


Funding for the Small Grants Competition was made possible in part by grant number AE00102 from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Analysis (ASPE), which was awarded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The views expressed in publications resulting from supported research do not necessarily reflect the official policies of the Department of Health and Human Services.