COVID-19 Safety Concerns, School Governance Models, and Instructional Modes: An Exploration of School Quality Perspectives during the Pandemic

Abstract This paper explores how parents’ COVID-19 safety concerns relate to school governance models (SGMs), instructional modes (i.e. in-person, hybrid, online), and perceptions of school quality during the pandemic. Leveraging two waves of household survey data across 47 states and the District of Columbia, we first conduct a series of multinomial regression analyses to explore […]

Intersecting Race and Gender Across Hardships and Mental Health During COVID-19: A Moderated-Mediation Model of Graduate Students at Two Universities

Abstract While the effects of the pandemic on the mental health of college students can vary across race and gender, few studies have explored the role of hardships and university assistance in these disparities, as well as how these disparities can manifest themselves differently across intersections of race and gender. We address this gap by […]

Infrastructure of social control: A multi-level counterfactual analysis of surveillance and Black education

Abstract In response to the continued reoccurrence of school shootings, policymakers have increased surveillance measures to ensure safer learning environments. However, in addition to being used to preempt school shootings, these surveillance measures may have increased the capacity of schools to identify and punish students for more common and less serious offenses, which may negatively […]

Perceptions of School Quality and Student Learning During the Pandemic: Exploring the Role of Students, Families, Schools, and Neighborhoods

Abstract Given the inequitable distribution of resources across school, neighborhood, and home contexts in the United States, lower resourced students may have had fewer opportunities to learn during the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic, which may have caused previous disadvantages to accumulate during the pandemic. Nevertheless, research has yet to comprehensively explore how school, neighborhood, and […]

Data Science for Social Impact Summit [Five Key Takeaways]

In November 2022, the Social Policy Institute at Washington University in St. Louis hosted Data is for Everyone: A Data Science for Social Impact Summit.   The summit’s goal was to build connection and capacity among social sector organizations to cultivate equitable, community-centered data practices. The event featured 21 local and national speakers across five panels. […]

Financial Well-being of Frontline Healthcare Workers: The Importance of Employer Benefits

Summary Frontline healthcare workers – especially direct care workers (DCWs), such as home health aides, struggle due to low pay, lack of benefits, and difficult working conditions. The need for these workers is growing. Unless frontline healthcare jobs improve, positions may be difficult to fill, and care for vulnerable members of society may be compromised. […]

Male Caregivers and Engagement in a Family Strengthening Program for Child Disruptive Behavior Disorders

Abstract Awareness and interest in involving male caregivers in child mental health treatment has grown, especially for youth with disruptive behavior disorders like oppositional defiant disorder (ODD). The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between male caregiver involvement and treatment engagement for child ODD. Children (n = 122) ages 7–11 and their caregivers participated […]

Prevalence of Long-COVID Among Low-Income and Marginalized Groups: Evidence From Israel

Abstract Objective: To identify the socioeconomic and demographic factors associated with the prevalence of self-reported long-COVID symptoms. Method: We examined the association between acute-COVID (SARS-CoV-2) and long-COVID symptoms, by a cross-sectional analysis of data obtained on a prospective online-survey, conducted from November to December 2021 on a nationally-representative sample of the Israeli population (N = 2,246). Results: Findings […]

Changes in food insecurity levels during the COVID-19 economic crisis: Differences based on sociodemographic factors

By Oren Heller, research director, Israel; Yaniv Shlomo, Data Analyst, Israel; Hayley Kalb, communications assistant; Michal Grinstein-Weiss, founding director Food insecurity is a national problem with short and long-term consequences that harm the economy and society. This problem was exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, as the labor market changed, affecting the disposable income of many […]

Predictors of and Barriers to Receipt of Advance Premium Tax Credits

Abstract Objectives: The Advance Premium Tax Credit (APTC) is designed to remedy lack of health insurance due to cost; however, approximately 30 million Americans remain without health insurance, and millions of households leave billions in tax credits unclaimed each year. A prerequisite of APTC is to file one’s taxes; however, few studies have examined tax filing […]

Lessons from a global team

I truly believe we can accomplish more by stepping outside of our own culture and seek to understand and learn from each other. This is what makes SPI’s global approach to its work so impactful. I look forward to hosting WashU colleagues in Israel next time.

Human-centered approach to benefits research for health care field

By Kourtney Gilbert, program coordinator, SPI As researchers, we work a lot with numbers on a page. These numbers often feel distant from the people they represent, or the policy and practices we hope to inform. For this reason, when the Social Policy Institute launched its Building on Benefits research project aimed at better understanding […]

Household Financial Security: What can we learn from research in the U.K.?

A Trans-Atlantic Policy Forum could bring together academic researchers,
policy makers, advocates, and corporate leaders in the U.S. and U.K. to develop
insights to fuel changes in public policies and corporate behavior to promote the
financial security of low- and moderate-income (LMI) individuals and families.

Apply to become a 2022-2023 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 […]

“Take my word for it”: Group Texts and Testimonials Enhance State and Federal Student Aid Applications

Abstract As the cost of college continues to rise, it has become increasingly important for students to apply for financial aid. However, many students are unaware of the benefits of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). We launched a field experiment with a non-profit organization to explore how both informational- and testimonial-type text […]

Financial Hardship Increases During Ramadan in Israel

Oren Heller, Postdoctoral Research Associate, and Daniel Yeshua, Program Manager Financial hardship among the Muslim Arab community in Israel increases during Ramadan, a survey from the Social Policy Institute at Washington University in St. Louis finds. This study, the first to examine the economic impact of Ramadan on the Muslim Arab population, can provide insight […]

James F. McDonnell Foundation awards $255k to study student mobility in St. Louis

As a part of the St. Louis Research Practice Collaborative (SRPC) and in partnership with St. Louis University, Jason Jabbari, research assistant professor with the Social Policy Institute at Washington University in St. Louis, has joined a team that received a $255k grant awarded by the James F. McDonnell Foundation for research on student mobility. […]

Experimental Evidence on Consumption, Saving, and Family Formation Responses to Student Debt Forgiveness (Links to an external site)

The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) provides substantial financial support to low-income Universal basic income has gained renewed interest among policymakers and researchers in the U.S. While research indicates that unconditional cash transfers produce diverse benefits for households, public support lags in part due to the predicted unemployment and frivolous As policy-makers grapple with whether […]

How Would Americans Respond to Direct Cash Transfers? Results from Two Survey Experiments

The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) provides substantial financial support to low-income Universal basic income has gained renewed interest among policymakers and researchers in the U.S. While research indicates that unconditional cash transfers produce diverse benefits for households, public support lags in part due to the predicted unemployment and frivolous spending. To understand how Americans […]

Congratulations to the newly inducted Graduate Policy Scholars from the 2021-2022 cohort!

Congratulations to the fifth cohort of the Graduate Policy Scholars who were inducted as scholars this May. Students represented departments across the university, including Arts & Sciences, Brown School, School of Medicine, School of Law, and the Olin Business School. The students who completed this rigorous program learned and engaged with policy as they developed […]

Disparate financial assistance support for small business owners

Small business owners experienced a drastic economic disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Government pandemic assistance failed to reach many small business owners, especially those historically underserved by financial institutions. Drawing on a 2021 survey of 246 small business owners, the Social Policy Institute at Washington University in St. Louis descriptively examined the extent to […]

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 […]

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 […]