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University of Kentucky Center for Poverty Research

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Economic change and the social safety net: Are rural Americans still behind?

Individual Author: 
Ziliak, James P.

This aim of this paper is to assess the economic status of rural people five decades after publication of President Johnson's National Commission on Rural Poverty report The People Left Behind. Using data from the Annual Social and Economic Supplement of the CPS, along with county data from the Regional Economic Information System, I focus on how changes in employment, wages, and the social safety net have influenced the evolution of poverty and inequality in rural and urban places.

The antipoverty impact of the EITC: New estimates from survey and administrative tax records

Individual Author: 
Jones, Maggie R.
Ziliak, James P.

Evaluations of the EITC, including its antipoverty effectiveness, are based on simulated EITC benefits using either the Census Bureau’s tax module or from external tax simulators such as the National Bureau of Economic Research’s TAXSIM or Jon Bakija’s model. Each simulator utilizes model-based assumptions on who is and who is not eligible for the EITC, and conditional on eligibility, assumes that participation is 100 percent.

Food security and poverty status across generations

Individual Author: 
Wimer, Christopher
Hartley, Robert Paul
Nam, Jaehyun

The persistence of disadvantage across generations is a central concern for social policy in the United States. While an extensive literature has focused on economic mobility for income, much less is known about the mechanisms for mobility out of poverty or material hardship. This study provides the first estimates of the intergenerational transmission of food insecurity and poverty status from childhood into early adulthood. An advantage of studying the transmission of food insecurity is that it provides a direct measure of well-being compared to income-based poverty measures.

EITC expansions, earnings growth, and inequality: Evidence from Washington, DC

Individual Author: 
Hardy, Bradley L.
Muhammad, Daniel
Casey, Marcus D.
Samudra, Rhucha

We use longitudinal administrative tax data from Washington DC (DC) to study how EITC expansions undertaken by Washington DC affect income and inequality in the city. We find that DC EITC credit expansions between 2001 and 2009 are associated with recipient pre-tax earnings growth of roughly 3-4 percent, primarily among single mothers. Together these credits reduce post-tax inequality for the 10th percentile relative to median households. However, composition changes in the city and growing overall inequality mitigates this inequality reduction towards the end of the period.

Food security, health, and healthcare utilization: The role of SNAP for families in extreme poverty

Individual Author: 
Herring, Bradley
Moffitt, Robert

We study whether SNAP mediates the effect of food insecurity on future health and healthcare utilization more for the extreme poor (i.e., those with income below 50% of the poverty line) than it mediates the effect for other low-income families (i.e., with incomes between 50% and 200% of the poverty line). We use data for about 23,000 people in the 2011- 2012, 2012-2013, and 2013-2014 linked NHIS-MEPS surveys with the measures of food insecurity coming from the NHIS and the measures of SNAP benefits and various health outcomes from the MEPS.

The real value of SNAP benefits and health outcomes

Individual Author: 
Hoynes, Hilary
Bronchetti, Erin
Christensen, Garret

The food stamp program (SNAP) is one of the most important elements of the social safety net and is the second largest anti-poverty program for children in the U.S. (only the EITC raises more children above poverty). The program varies little across states and over time, which creates challenges for quasi-experimental evaluation. Notably, SNAP benefit levels are fixed across 48 states; but local food prices vary widely, leading to substantial variation in the real value of SNAP benefits.

How well does SNAP protect families against the risk of food insecurity and poor health during economic downturns?

Individual Author: 
DeLeire, Thomas
Hardy, Bradley
Bhattacharya, Jay

Our research project addressed the question of how well SNAP and the social safety net protects families against the risk of food insecurity and poor health during economic downturns. Previous research has documented the relationship between reductions in family incomes and food insufficiency and has examined the effects of resources that mitigate the effects of income volatility. The U.S. social safety net, including SNAP, exists to mitigate the deleterious effects of swings in family income, particularly among low- and moderate-income households.

Transition to adulthood: Dynamics of disability, food security, health, and SNAP participation

Individual Author: 
Guo, Baorong
Huang, Jin
Porterfield, Shirley L.

Young adults face enormous economic, social and psychological challenges when they transition into adulthood. This transition can be especially overwhelming and daunting for young adults with disabilities. Among the challenges young adults with disabilities are faced with are greater risk of low food security and barriers to healthcare. This study examines how the transition to adulthood may affect food security, health, and access to healthcare for youth with disabilities, and estimates the effects that SNAP has on this group in those turbulent years.

Multiple program participation and the SNAP program

Individual Author: 
Moffitt, Robert A.

Receipt of benefits from other traditional transfer programs by SNAP families is common, with 76 percent of those families receiving at least one other major benefit of that type, excluding Medicaid, in 2008. However, over half of these only received one other benefit and only a very small fraction received more than two others. Over the long-term, multiple benefit receipt among SNAP families has been falling, a result of declines in the TANF caseload offsetting rises in the SSI, SSDI, and WIC caseloads.

Food insecurity during childhood: Understanding persistence and change using linked current population survey data

Individual Author: 
Kennedy, Sheela
Fitch, Catherine A.
Warren, John Robert
Rivera Drew, Julia A.

Our paper examines the prevalence and determinants of children’s transitions into and out of food insecurity since 2001. We use longitudinally linked data from the Food Security Supplements to the Current Population Surveys to estimate one-year transition probabilities of entry and exit from food insecurity. Our results indicate that child hunger is typically short-lived, but children experiencing very low food security frequently experience multiple consecutive years of food insecurity.