Nothing to show for it: Distress among non-degree earners with debt

Press release: May 11, 2022 According to a study by the Social Policy Institute at Washington University in St. Louis, the convergence of college non-completion and student debt among borrowers lead to higher rates of material hardship, healthcare hardship, and financial difficulties than those with a high school degree, those with a college degree, and […]

The financial impacts of a near-miss with natural disasters

By Dan Zhao, postdoctoral research associate, and Michal Grinstein-Weiss, director When disaster strikes, it is easy to neglect the people on the boundaries. When assessing the impact of adverse economic shocks, whether it be natural disasters, pandemics, or factory shutoffs, the focal point is on those who were directly devastated by the shock. However, the […]

The Impact of Tax Refund Delays on the Experience of Hardship Among Lower-Income Households

Abstract The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) provides substantial financial support to low-income workers in the USA, yet around a quarter of EITC payments are estimated to be erroneous or fraudulent. Beginning in 2017, the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015 requires the Internal Revenue Service to spend additional time processing early EITC […]

Who Protests, What Do They Protest, and Why?

Abstract We examine individuals’ decisions to attend protests during the summer of 2020. Our analysis examines two simultaneous movements: Black Lives Matter along with protests calling for less stringent public health measures to combat the COVID-19 (e.g., for swifter reopening of businesses). Our analysis is made possible by a unique staggered panel data set that […]

Disrupted and Disconnected: Child Activities, Social Skills, and Race/Ethnicity During the Pandemic

Abstract Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, parents reported that their children spent the majority of their time at home, which can dramatically change their activities and negatively impact their social skills. However, research has yet to uncover the relationships between changes in activities during the pandemic and children’s social skills, nor the degree to which […]

COVID-19 job and income loss and mental health: the mediating roles of financial assets and well-being and the moderating role of race/ethnicity

Abstract Prior research shows unemployment has a negative effect on mental health, yet whether this relationship is affected by financial factors is unknown. For example, having money in savings may mitigate the impact of job loss on mental health. We use structural equation modeling with data from the Socio-Economic Impacts of COVID-19 Survey with a […]

Nothing to show for it: Financial Distress and Re-Enrollment Aspirations for those with non-degreed debt

Abstract The number of individuals with student loan debt who do not earn their degrees is on the rise; nevertheless, there is little research that demonstrates their current circumstances and future aspirations. We address this knowledge gap by comparing the financial distresses and re-enrollment aspirations of student debt-holders who started college but did not earn […]

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

Abstract 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 […]

Expanded Child Tax Credit payments have not reduced employment

Approximately 60 million American children living in 35 million households received monthly payments from the federal government as part of the temporary Child Tax Credit (CTC) expansion. Discourse over whether or not the expanded CTC caused parents to leave the workforce emerged during the period of the expanded credit. On one side, a large number […]

Public perceptions and the willingness to get vaccinated against COVID-19: Lessons from Israel

Abstract Objectives To explore the associations between vaccine hesitancy and demographic and socio-economic characteristics, as well as perspective towards the COVID-19 and its vaccines. Methods Data were collected through four online surveys on Israel’s representative sample in March (3/2 to 3/7, n = 1517), August (8/10–8/11, n = 925; 8/18–8/22, n = 1054), and September (9/22-9/24; n=1406), 2021. We employ a […]

SPI sessions at Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management (APPAM)

Three Social Policy Institute researchers will present their papers and host discussions at the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management (APPAM) conference on March 28-29, 2022. Below are the papers and discussions presented by the SPI team. 10:15 a.m. (CT) on Monday, March 28, 2022 “Precarious Homeownership and Housing Inequity During the COVID-19 Pandemic” […]

Introducing new associate directors

Friends of SPI, I am delighted to announce three new Social Policy Institute associate directors! SPI has grown significantly since its launch in 2019 and our new associate directors will ensure we continue to generate important evidence and policy-passionate leaders needed to inform equitable policies and inclusive communities. I hope you will join me in […]

We Are All Data People: An Equity-Centered Approach to Increasing Impact

The launch of a series of free learning opportunities for increasing social sector impact, capacity and connection around data. About this event Social sector organizations can increase their impact and advance their missions by cultivating effective, ethical, and equitable data practices. Based on St. Louis social sector input, the Data Science for Social Impact initiative […]

Data Science for Social Impact Event Series

Data can be a powerful tool, particularly in the social sector, with unique opportunities and challenges alike. However, the majority of available data-focused resources are designed to build technical skills. Fewer resources are designed to build capacity around elements of responsible data use or strategies for utilizing data to impact people’s lives and promote equitable […]

The Impact of Tax Refund Delays on the Experience of Hardship Among Lower-Income Households

Abstract The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) provides substantial financial support to low-income workers in the USA, yet around a quarter of EITC payments are estimated to be erroneous or fraudulent. Beginning in 2017, the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015 requires the Internal Revenue Service to spend additional time processing early EITC […]

The Precarity of Self-Employment among Low- and Moderate-Income Households

Abstract Many people in the United States have achieved economic stability through self-employment and are often seen as embracing the entrepreneurial spirit and seizing opportunity. Yet, research also suggests that self-employment may be precarious for many people in the lower socioeconomic strata. Drawing on a unique dataset that combines longitudinal survey data with administrative tax […]

Introduction: The COVID-19 Shock to Our Deep Inequities: How to Mitigate the Impact

The COVID-19 pandemic affected nearly every aspect of household health, as well as the social and economic well-being of individuals and communities across the United States. Many in our society have faced and continue to face unprecedented challenges. Specifically, the pandemic put a microscope on inequities such as racial disparities in housing, health care, and […]

Crashing without a Parachute: Racial and Educational Disparities in Unemployment during COVID-19

Abstract The burden of the COVID-19 pandemic has not been shouldered equally by American families. Black and Hispanic communities have been hit the hardest, with the pandemic often exacerbating existing disparities. Using nationally representative data, we assess the economic and public health effects of the pandemic among different socioeconomic groups and whether typical sources of […]

Inclusive Growth in St. Louis Events

Who benefits from economic growth in St. Louis? Despite promises of job creation, increasing home values, new businesses, and representative leadership in St. Louis, the benefits of economic growth have not been equally, nor equitably, distributed. As the economy rebuilds itself from COVID-19 devastation, now is the time to consider how St. Louis can become […]

Policy & Practice Strategies for Inclusive Growth in St. Louis

A 6-part event series, Inclusive Growth in St. Louis investigated who is left out of St. Louis’ economic growth benefits, the policies that have led to the unequal distribution of opportunities, and actionable recommendations to become a more inclusive economy. This report summarizes those discussions and recommendations.

Apprenticeships increase employment, earnings, and optimism in the technology sector (Links to an external site)

Given the novel and rapidly changing nature of the labor market, learning new skills quickly will become an increasingly important aspect of workforce development and social mobility. The Social Policy Institute investigates LaunchCode, a St. Louis boot camp with an apprenticeship model, as a viable option to increase wealth-building opportunities and upskill a more diverse labor […]

New Year greetings from the director

Thank you for being a valued member of the Social Policy Institute community this past year. I am extremely proud of our team—staff, faculty affiliates, funders and community partners—who work so hard to make the world more equitable for everyone. Our mission to make the world more equitable by applying innovative, evidence-based solutions to complex social problems […]

Activating Inclusive Growth in St. Louis

On Dec. 9, 2021, we learned how to influence policy and collaborate with like-minded people to activate change in our last Inclusive Growth in St. Louis event. After a year of events investigating why economic growth in St. Louis benefits some groups of people more than others and how we can change systems to support […]

15 Actionable Strategies to Embrace Inclusive Leadership

Speakers at the Inclusive Growth in St. Louis event series on Sept. 23 identified 15 strategies to proactively support and amplify diverse voices and perspectives as discussed by the speakers at the event.

Apply to become a Graduate Policy Scholar!

Applications for the Graduate Policy Scholar program are now open to all graduate students at Washington University in St. Louis! The Graduate Policy Scholar program provides students from all fields of study with impactful opportunities and training in policy. Offered by the Social Policy Institute and the Clark-Fox Policy Institute, the yearlong program provides students […]

New longitudinal Socioeconomic Impacts of COVID-19 Survey calls for sustained public benefit support

The Social Policy Institute at Washington University in St. Louis (SPI) released new findings on the impact of COVID-19 on housing hardship, the importance of employment and associated benefits, such as the Payment Protection Program, family hardships, and efficiency of public benefits designed to support households in need, such as SNAP, TANF, and unemployment insurance benefits.

Embracing Inclusive Leadership

Join us at 12:30 p.m. CT on Thursday, Sept. 23 for an event discussing strategies to create inclusive leadership.

Policy & practice: How to build long-term financial wellness

We know that liquid assets provide a safety net for short-term financial well-being, but how can we transition from short-term financial stability to longer-term financial health? Researchers, Jeremy Burke, Stephen Roll and Emily Gallagher shared their findings on the mitigation effect of liquid assets during a financial shock, the leading factors that contribute to long-term […]

Internationally collaborative seed grant recipients: Where are they now?

Over the last two years, the Social Policy Institute and McDonnell International Scholars Academy at Washington University in St. Louis have partnered in sponsoring internationally collaborative research. The first projects, funded at the beginning of 2020, explored social policy globally to understand systemic challenges within and between nations. However, as with everything in 2020, the […]

Why are Israeli parents of 12-15-year-olds hesitant to vaccinate their children?

By Yaniv Shlomo, Senior Fellow; Oren Heller, Postdoctoral Research Associate; Daniel Yeshua, Program Manager; and Michal Grinstein-Weiss, Director Download a PDF to read this text in Hebrew: מדוע הורים לבני 12 עד 15 מהססים לחסן את ילדיהם? While most Israeli adults are vaccinated, 62% of parents are hesitant to vaccinate their 12-15-year-old children. The findings […]

Inclusive growth feature: Building an inclusive workforce in St. Louis

This inclusive growth feature is one of a multi-part feature on how to support inclusive growth in St. Louis by our advisory committee for the Inclusive Growth in St. Louis Event Series. In my hometown of St. Louis, inclusive growth means that everyone in our community has access to education and training to obtain well-paying […]

Celebrating the Graduate Policy Scholars 2021 Cohort

The Graduate Policy Scholars program provides students from all fields of study with impactful opportunities and training in policy. Offered by the Clark-Fox Policy Institute in partnership with the Social Policy Institute, the yearlong program provides students with opportunities to develop skills in advocacy, analysis and/or organizing. During the program, students receive guidance and mentorship […]

Inclusive Growth Feature: Impacting policy through collaboration

Jackie Hutchinson, Executive Director of the Consumers Council of Missouri, sat down with the Social Policy Institute to discuss her career in advocating for equity and inclusive growth. Throughout her career she’s found her greatest impact through policy action and collaboration. This inclusive growth feature is one of a multi-part feature on how to support […]

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, […]

Inclusive Growth Feature: Intersection of health, wealth and inclusive growth

How can we build inclusive and healthy communities in St. Louis? Kristy Klein Davis, Chief Strategy Officer of the Missouri Foundation for Health, sat down with the Social Policy Institute to discuss the intersection of health and inclusive growth. This inclusive growth feature is one of a multi-part feature on how to support inclusive growth […]

Data Science for Social Impact: Roundtable Discussion Summary Report

To inform the Data Science for Social Impact initiative, SPI hosted a series of public roundtable discussions in partnership with the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth, data.org, and the St. Louis Regional Data Alliance in 2021. This report documents the information gathered at the first two discussions.

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.

Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Housing Instability during the COVID-19 Pandemic: The Role of Assets and Income Shocks

Abstract 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 […]

Building an effective employee financial wellness program [5 Key Insights]

Anyone who does a “happy dance” on payday knows how much employers affect our financial lives. Most of us depend on employment to make ends meet and pursue our long-term goals. That’s why through the Workforce Financial Stability Initiative, we’ve been studying employee financial wellness programs (EFWPs) since 2017. Our motivation was simple: with growing […]

Inclusive Growth Feature: Jorge Riopedre on Why Inclusive Growth Matters

Author: Jorge Riopedre, executive director of Delmar Divine and advisor of Inclusive Growth in St. Louis event series. St. Louis has historically been segregated, with people of color living in areas that were purposely removed from economic opportunities. In my work at Delmar Divine, I can see firsthand why inclusive growth matters. The disregard for […]