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.

Disaggregating the Effects of STEM Education and Apprenticeships on Economic Mobility: Evidence From the LaunchCode Program

Abstract Despite an increase in employer-aligned certificate and apprenticeship programs, there is limited research examining the impact of these programs on economic outcomes. Moreover, for research that has explored the impact of these programs, it is unclear whether the outcomes are a product of the courses alone or the apprenticeships and other work-related experiences that […]

Can Training and Apprentice Programs Increase Worker Wellbeing and Optimism?

Abstract While there are myriad studies that demonstrate the positive link between education and current life satisfaction, research has yet to formally explore life satisfaction and optimism in the context of reskilling programs. In this study, we evaluate the impacts of the LaunchCode program, a novel reskilling and apprentice program, on participant’s life satisfaction and […]

Timely and well-targeted financial help during COVID-19: an employer-community partnership for hotel workers in New Orleans

Abstract Economic disruptions related to the COVID-19 pandemic left many households without the income necessary to meet basic needs. We describe an innovative, community-based partnership between a financial services company, philanthropic funders, and employers to provide financial assistance to hotel workers in New Orleans who lost jobs and income due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Results […]

At Home and on the Brink: U.S. Parents’ Mental Health during COVID-19

Abstract Though the COVID-19 pandemic required significant changes and adaptations for most Americans, parents faced acute challenges as they had to navigate rapidly changing schooling and child care policies requiring their children to spend more time at home. This study examines the effects of COVID-19 school and workplace policies as well as environmental and economic […]

“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 […]

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

Abstract The combined supply and demand shocks of the COVID-19 pandemic have created the largest consumer behavior shift 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 pandemic’s effects on self-reported […]

Humanizing artificial, expanding intelligence: Putting AI in context with the social sciences and the social sector

By: Kate Miller, Dan Ferris & Jenrose Fitzgerald The relationships between artificial intelligence (AI), the social sciences, and the social sector have incredible potential. It is easy to imagine a disconnect between something that is, in name, artificial, and the study and support of human relationships. How are advancements in data science, such as AI, […]

Bridging community knowledge into social policy

By Abaki Beck, research manager at the Social Policy Institute I grew up picking root medicine with my family, knowledge passed down to my grandmother and aunts from their mother, and to my grandmother from her mother. I also grew up with a dedication to community activism from witnessing the health, economic and educational disparities […]

Let the Child Tax Credit work (Links to an external site)

Brookings shares research on the significant, lifelong effects and benefits programs like 2021’s Child Tax Credit have on children being raised in poverty and why the argument for declining labor force participation with an expanded CTC is weak.

Does a food insecurity intervention improve perinatal outcomes for mother and child? A randomized control study protocol of the Fresh Rx: Nourishing Healthy Starts program

Abstract Pregnancy and postpartum periods represent critical times to support nutrition and household food security, especially for families with limited or strained economic resources. The Fresh Rx: Nourishing Healthy Starts study uses a randomized design to examine a comprehensive, holistic “food is medicine” program targeting food insecure expectant mothers in an area with high rates […]

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 […]

W.T. Grant Foundation awards $512k to study impact of Choice Neighborhood Initiative

Press release: June 8, 2022 Jason Jabbari, research assistant professor with the Social Policy Institute at Washington University in St. Louis, received a $512k grant from The William T. Grant Foundation to understand if and how the Choice Neighborhood Initiative (CNI) reduces racial inequalities in academic outcomes for children and youth. Alongside Jabbari, co-principal investigators […]

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 […]

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 […]

Social Policy Institute researchers gain insights from APPAM conference

Three Social Policy Institute (SPI) team members, Jason Jabbari, research assistant professor, Yung Chun, data analyst III, and Laura Brugger, data analyst III, traveled to Austin, Texas at the end of March to present SPI research at the Association for Public Policy Analysis & Management (APPAM) 2021 Fall Conference. The theme of the conference was […]

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 […]

New report suggests Child Tax Credit reduced usage of high-cost financial services

Press Release: April 14, 2021 St. Louis (April 14, 2022)— In a new report published with the Global Economy and Development program at Brookings Institution, researchers at the Social Policy Institute at Washington University in St. Louis and Appalachian State University found that families who were eligible for the child tax credit (CTC) experienced improved nutrition, decreased […]

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 […]

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” […]

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 […]