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 […]

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, […]

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 […]

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.

SPI researchers win awards for paper at ACCI Conference & VentureCafe STL Fellowship

Stephen Roll and Mathieu Despard, researchers at SPI, recently received the CFP© Board’s ACCI Financial Planning Paper Award for their paper on income loss and financial distress during the COVID-19 pandemic. The award is given to a well-written paper that focuses on important financial planning issues which can be used by consumers, financial planning professionals, and policymakers […]

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 […]

How do Americans say they will use direct cash transfers? The answer depends on the frequency and the amount of the payment

From discussions of universal basic income in the 2020 presidential debates to repeated stimulus checks during the COVID-19 pandemic, government cash transfers have received a lot of attention recently. When considering a cash transfer program, policymakers usually have an objective in mind, such as reducing economic inequality, improving households’ ability to meet basic needs, or […]

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 […]

COVID-19 pandemic caused ‘mental crisis’ among Israeli youth (Links to an external site)

The Jerusalem Post discusses SPI research finding that Israeli children are experiencing a “mental crisis.” The report, based on a study conducted by Michal Grinstein-Weiss, director of SPI, and Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya together with Prof. Rami Benvenisti of Hebrew University, showed that one in five children – 21% and three times more than before the coronavirus crisis – are suffering from symptoms of anxiety.

How Can a Data-Informed Social Sector Amplify Impact in St. Louis?

This event is hosted by the Social Policy Institute at Washington University in St. Louis in partnership with the St. Louis Regional Data Alliance and data.org, with support from the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth.  Data is a powerful tool for increasing impact with unique opportunities and needs for the social sector. How can St. […]

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 […]

SPI & McDonnell Academy award new round of seed grants to address Covid-19-related challenges

For a second year, the Social Policy Institute and the McDonnell International Scholars Academy at Washington University in St. Louis partnered to provide joint seed grants to advance international policy-relevant research. Three new projects were selected to receive seed funding of up to $30,000 each. The recipients include researchers from both Washington University and McDonnell […]

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.

Improving Access and Minimizing Obstacles for Medicaid Buy-In Participation

Medicaid Buy-In (MBI) has received public and policymaker attention in recent years as an option for states to expand access to healthcare. “Eligibility can be so confusing and complicated it presents an obstacle for providers and government alike to communicate clearly, never mind promote Medicaid buy-in for working people with disabilities.” Kimberly Lackey, Director of […]

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.

Cash assistance (TANF) recipients suffer the brunt of evictions despite the moratorium

New evidence from the Social Policy Institute’s multi-wave Socioeconomic Impacts of COVID-19 Survey shows that during the pandemic, TANF recipients were evicted at significantly higher rates than non-recipients, even when accounting for differences in demographics, income, assets, recent job loss, and how many months behind they are in rental payments.

COVID-19 School Meal Policies as Long-term Strategies to Fight Child Food Insecurity

In response to COVID-19 and the nationwide school closures that followed, the federal government passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) and the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Through these policies, the USDA was able to grant meal waivers to help schools and community organizations provide meals and snacks during COVID-related […]

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. […]