The Impact of State Earned Income Tax Credit Increases on Material and Medical Hardship

The federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) provides substantial financial assistance to low- and moderate-income workers and has been shown to reduce poverty and encourage employment. Many U.S. states have also implemented their own EITCs to supplement the federal tax credits. Leveraging unique administrative and survey data and employing a difference-in-differences approach, this study investigates […]

Israel’s next president has long-standing relationship with the Social Policy Institute at Washington University

With Isaac Herzog set to become Israel’s 11th president later this summer, the Social Policy Institute (SPI) reflects on its long-standing partnership with the future president. SPI director, Michal Grinstein-Weiss, began working with President-elect Herzog in 2010 to generate national support to create the first universal child development account program (CDA) in the world. Grinstein-Weiss, […]

Material Hardship among Lower-Income Households: The Role of Liquid Assets and Place

Lower-income households are at risk for material hardship, particularly amidst the economic fallout of COVID-19. Where one lives (e.g., suburb, small town) may affect this risk due to variable access to resources, yet the evidence is mixed concerning the influence of place. We used a pooled, national cross-sectional sample of 66,046 lower-income tax filers to […]

Investing in Inclusive Neighborhoods

Join us virtually for Investing in Inclusive Neighborhoods, 12:30-2:00 p.m. (CT) on July 14 and 15, to explore strategies for community driven, place-based investments that support equitable housing valuations and small/minority-owned business growth that leads to long-term wealth.

Assessing the Short-Term Stability of Financial Well-Being in Low- and Moderate-Income Households

Much of the literature on household finance tends to focus on relatively objective measures of financial security (e.g., savings, income, financial knowledge), and there has been less research on measures of subjective financial well-being. This gap is due in part to the absence of a common understanding on defining and measuring subjective financial well-being. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau […]

Fintech as a Solution for Employee Financial Health: Findings from Five Exploratory Studies

The financial technology (fintech) sector has grown rapidly in recent years. Awareness and use of fintech has grown as companies in this sector have increased their user-friendly design, convenience, and accessibility. A unique fintech niche that has developed rapidly alongside the overall industry is known as “employer-channel fintech.” Offered by employers, these solutions or benefits […]

Saving for a Rainy Day: Making it Easier for Employees to Build Emergency Savings

In this study, we examined Onward, an employer-based mobile app that enables workers to save via payroll deduction and receive financial education and coaching as a means to address financial challenges such as difficulty paying bills on time, managing debt, and accruing savings. An important feature of Onward is that employees can save automatically through […]

Financing Workers’ Health Care Cash Flow Needs: A Pilot Study

MedPut offers a way for employees to pay their out-of-pocket health care expenses through payroll deducted or Health Savings Account (HSA) payments capped at 5% of gross pay. Employees that use MedPut are much more likely to report having problems paying medical bills and to report putting off health care due to cost concerns. Nearly […]

Don’t Cash Out or Leave Them Behind: A Pilot Study of a 401k Plan Transfer Digital Platform

In this study, we examined Manifest, a digital platform that makes it easier for employees to transfer 401k retirement accounts when they change jobs. Transferring accounts reduces the likelihood employees cash out and helps them consolidate their retirement savings. We examined 401k plan activity among nearly 15,000 employees of a private university over a four-year […]

From Financial Struggle to Short-Term Financial Relief – An Exploratory Study on Small-Dollar Lending for Low-and Moderate-Income Employees

In this study, we examined HoneyBee, a service company that provides access to 0% APR loans and financial coaching through the workplace. HoneyBee aims to offer employees in need a more affordable credit alternative to payday and auto title loans and therefore help addressing significant cash flow emergencies. Data for this exploratory study included 65 […]

Employer-Sponsored Financial Planning: A Study of the Brightside Platform

In this report we explore employee usage trends of Brightside, an employee financial health platform that is designed to improve the financial health of working families. Using this platform, employees can open “cases” to address a financial need or goal they have. Brightside connects these employees with financial assistants who, in turn, connect the employees […]

Are Foreclosure Spillover Effects Universal? Variation Over Space and Time

Government intervention in the housing market in response to the 2007–2010 mortgage crisis was driven in part by research showing that foreclosures lower neighboring housing values and thus increase neighbors’ risk of foreclosure. Researchers have consistently identified a negative spillover effect of foreclosures on nearby housing values, but the magnitude of the effect varies widely […]

Women can’t be stopped: Applying resiliency of pandemic struggles to acquire new, high-quality job opportunities

International Women’s Day marks one year since the COVID-19 crisis began. Over the past year, the pandemic drastically cut women from the workforce in the United States and beyond. However, despite all of this, there is a chance for a new opportunity. Women around the world have an opportunity now to apply their resiliency to acquire new skills and re-enter the workforce in industries where they have been historically under-represented.

Fear of safety and mistrust cause vaccine hesitancy in Israel

SPI asked respondents about their inclination to get a COVID-19 vaccine, as well as their perspectives toward the vaccine and pandemic overall. The results indicate certain religious groups are more hesitant to receive the vaccine than others, though the reasoning differs.

Household Spending Patterns and Hardships during COVID-19: A Comparative Study of the U.S. and Israel

The combined supply and demand shocks of the COVID-19 pandemic have created the largest shift in consumer behavior in recent history, while exposing millions of households to material hardships like food insecurity and housing instability. In this study, we draw on national surveys conducted early in the pandemic to investigate the COVID-19’s effects on self-reported […]

From intention to action: A systematic literature review of provider behaviour change‐focused interventions in physical health and behavioural health settings

It is clear there are significant delays in the uptake of best practices as part of routine care in the healthcare system, yet there is conflicting evidence on how to specifically align provider behaviour with best practices. Method We conducted a review of interventions utilized to change any aspect of provider behaviour. To extend prior […]

Nudging Parents to Improve Children’s Oral Health: A Field Study

This research brief is part of a series by the Social Impact Nudgeathon initiative. This initiative incorporated insights from behavioral economics into the design and delivery of social welfare programs. Developed through a partnership between the Joint Distribution Committee in Israel (JDC-Israel) and the Social Policy Institute (SPI) at Washington University in St. Louis, this initiative is among the first of its kind to launch in Israel. […]

Increasing Successful Completion of Practical Engineering Diploma Programs

This research brief is part of a series by the Social Impact Nudgeathon initiative. This initiative incorporated insights from behavioral economics into the design and delivery of social welfare programs. Developed through a partnership between the Joint Distribution Committee in Israel (JDC-Israel) and the Social Policy Institute (SPI) at Washington University in St. Louis, this initiative is among the first of its kind to launch in Israel. […]

Making inclusive growth a reality in St. Louis (Links to an external site)

As it continues to grow and develop, how can St. Louis ensure benefits are distributed equally throughout the region? Learn about how the Inclusive Growth in St. Louis event series with Center for Inclusive Growth and the advisory committee are addressing this concern.

Creating Inclusive Access to Education, Training & Technology

Watch recording from Feb. 10-11 event, Creating Inclusive Access to Education, Training & Technology, a discussion about the opportunities to create inclusive access to education, training & technology for under-represented populations in St. Louis.

STL 2030 Jobs Plan Panel Discussion

Washington University’s Social Policy Institute and Office of the Executive Vice Chancellor for Civic Affairs and Strategic Planning is pleased to partner with Greater St. Louis Inc. for a panel discussion about the STL2030 Jobs Plan: Driving a Decade of Inclusive Growth. During the discussion, you’ll learn about the draft jobs plan, have the chance to […]

Bold Responses to the Racial Wealth Gap

Please join us 1:00- 2:30 p.m. (CT) on Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2021 for an event sponsored by the Center for Household Financial Stability at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis and the Social Policy Institute at Washington University in St. Louis to explore some of these responses.

Evidence on School Discipline Impacts and Disparities – For Missouri and Beyond

On January 29th, SPI data analyst Jason Jabbari presented at a SLU PRiME Center webinar on his research “The Collateral Damages of Suspensions” which demonstrates that attending high-suspension schools is negatively linked to math achievement and college attendance. Panelists emphasized the need for rigorous research on alternatives to suspensions, such as restorative justice. The webinar guests included:  […]

Call for Proposals: Identifying and addressing the challenges of COVID-19 through artificial intelligence, technology, and big data

The Social Policy Institute (SPI) and the McDonnell International Scholars Academy at Washington University in St. Louis are seeking proposals from Washington University researchers and international partners that identify and address the challenges of COVID-19 through artificial intelligence, technology, and big data. Proposals are due by Feb. 26, 2021. This is the second year the […]

All over the Map: A Systematic Literature Review and State Policy Scan of Medicaid Buy-In Programs for Working Individuals with Disabilities

While supports for people with disabilities have increased, significant healthcare and financial barriers persist. State-administered Medicaid Buy-In programs for working people with disabilities, distinct from broader buy-in discussions that have emerged as some states consider expanding access to health insurance, are intended to incentivize employment and protect against a loss of Long-Term Services and Supports. […]

The Challenge of Living Together: Can the Coronavirus Be an Opportunity?

This event has passed. Watch a recording. Michal Granstein-Weiss, director of SPI, and Avital Blonder, founder and CEO of Jindas Association for Urban Urban Renewal, presented at 12:30 p.m. (CT) on January 25, 2021, part of the Shared Israeliness and Social Solidarity lecture series presented by Beit Keinan and the Initiative for Shared Israeliness at the […]

Women with young children are disappearing from the Israeli workforce

Women with young children (0-14 years old) are twice as likely to experience unemployment as compared to men in the same situation, according to the longitudinal Socioeconomic Impacts of COVID-19 Survey in Israel, administered by the Social Policy Institute at Washington University in St. Louis.

School breakfast matters for Missouri students

Guest post by Sarah Ritter, manager of public policy, Operation Food Search Child nutrition programs are essential to ending hunger and supporting children’s health, learning and development. One important yet underutilized program is the School Breakfast Program (SBP). Students who eat breakfast at school consume more fiber, calcium and vitamin C – nutrients all children […]

Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Housing Instability during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Stable and adequate housing is critical in the midst of a pandemic; without housing, individuals and families cannot shelter in place to prevent the spread of disease. Understanding and combating housing hardships in vulnerable populations is therefore essential to a sound public health response. This study aims to explore the pandemic’s disproportionate impacts on housing-related […]

Who relocates, where do they move, and why?

The lack of socioeconomic mobility among marginalized populations leads to the concentration of poverty, a long-standing issue in American cities. Empirical studies on neighborhood effects have found that poverty concentration adversely affects the socioeconomic mobility of residents—associated with their economic well-being, employment, education, health, and safety—in lower-income neighborhoods. Through a variety of neighborhood revitalization projects, […]

The Far-Reaching Impacts of COVID-19 on the Financial Lives of Israelis – Differences by Religion and Ethnicity

Press Release: October 25, 2020 With a COVID-19 death toll exceeding 2,000, Israel now has one of the highest per capita deaths in the world. Feelings of frustration and despair have resulted in the largest anti-government demonstrations since the establishment of the country, emphasizing that a central crisis during the COVID-19 is a growing divide […]

Three reasons young Israeli adults may face catastrophic, long-term financial burden from COVID-19

Press Release: September 25, 2020 The potentially catastrophic, long-term financial impacts of COVID-19 on young adults are highlighted in the Socioeconomic Impacts of COVID-19 Survey[1] in Israel, which was administered between June 4 and July 1 by the Social Policy Institute at Washington University in St. Louis in partnership with Mastercard. The survey results found […]

A different dialogue: Lifting up community voices

community photo

By: Sarah Cowart, communications manager for Social Policy Institute; Pamela Chan, associate director for Social Policy Institute, and Daniel Barker, director of research and knowledge, Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth If you attended “Building an Inclusive Economy” on October 7 with the Social Policy Institute at Washington University in St. Louis (SPI) and Mastercard Center […]

Women in St. Louis worry about their careers as they step back to care for their families (Links to an external site)

St. Louis Public Radio highlighted survey results from Social Policy Institute’s Socioeconomic Impacts of COVID-19 Survey in the U.S. to elevate evidence that child care concerns are driving job losses and the ability to return to work during the pandemic. Atia Thurman, associate director from the Clark-Fox Policy Institute at Washington University added commentary about policy solutions.