Improving perinatal outcomes for mother and child through Fresh Rx: Nourishing Health Starts

Dan Ferris, associate director of education and training for SPI, along with co-authors, recently published, “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,” in the Journal of Public Health Research.

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 […]

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 […]

Using Counterfactual Modeling and Machine Learning Generated Propensity Scores to Examine Black Social Control and Mathematics

Abstract The Race, Gender, and Social Control in STEM (RGSC-STEM) Lab has established important and long overdue connections between state violence, schooling, and racial inequities in mathematics. RGSC-STEM work has been guided by the question of whether our national priority to fill the STEM pipeline in schools requires them to first drain the school to […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Do Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Savings and Job Loss during COVID-19 Explain Disparities in Housing Hardships? A Moderated Mediation Analysis

Abstract Despite the array of public programs offered to help households mitigate the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, many still needed to rely on savings, credit, or other assets to make ends meet. This reality may exacerbate existing social and economic inequities because racial and ethnic minorities often have lower access to assets and […]

Cut me some slack! An exploration of slack resources and technology-mediated human capital investments in entrepreneurship

Purpose In this paper, the authors explore the relationship that slack resources and technology-mediated human capital investments can have on individuals’ entrepreneurial intentions. Focusing on human capital investments that individuals make through education and work, the authors analyze the relationship among formal online learning opportunities, informal skill development in the gig economy and entrepreneurial intentions. […]

Increased School Breakfast Participation from Policy and Program Innovation: The Community Eligibility Provision and Breakfast after the Bell

Abstract School meals provide significant access to food and nutrition for children and adolescents, particularly through universal free meal mechanisms. Alongside added nutritional meal requirements under the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act (2010), schools can utilize meal program and policy mechanisms such as the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) and Breakfast after the Bell (BATB) to increase […]

How Did School Meal Access Change during the COVID-19 Pandemic? A Two-Step Floating Catchment Area Analysis of a Large Metropolitan Area

SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) resulted in school closures and contingencies across the U.S. that limited access to school meals for students. While some schools attempted to provide alternative meal access points where students or parents could pick up meals, many students—especially those in low-income households—lacked adequate transportation to these access points. Thus, physical proximity to meal access […]

Impact of COVID-19 on Households with Children

The COVID-19 pandemic caused major disruptions in employment, child care and education. As a result, both parents and children experienced a variety of hardships in their work and education. While these hardships had reverberating effects throughout households, they were not equally distributed across families with children. In this brief, we explore the effects of COVID-19 […]

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

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 FAFSA. We launched a field experiment with a non-profit organization to explore the impact of text message interventions on FAFSA application rates. 2,236 potential students were […]

Pinching pennies or money to burn? The role of grit in financial behaviors

We explore whether gritty individuals are better savers by virtue of their wealth or due to diligent choices that benefit their long-term economic health. We test these competing hypotheses by examining the ways in which grit influences how LMI tax filers report spending or saving their tax refund in the months following tax filing. We […]

Inclusive and equitable tech reskilling at LaunchCode in St. Louis (Links to an external site)

Recognizing the shortcomings of equitable hiring and reskilling in the tech sector, LaunchCode, a St. Louis-based technology training organization, implemented a new model for equitable re-skilling by combining computer science training with a paid apprenticeship and by altering its recruitment and retention efforts. SPI partnered with LaunchCode to evaluate the effectiveness of these efforts in […]

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 […]

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.

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 […]

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:  […]

Nothing to Show for It: Non-Degreed Debt and the Financial Circumstances Associated with It

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 the financial conditions and circumstances of these individuals. We address this knowledge gap by comparing the financial outcomes of student debt-holders who started college but did not earn a degree—those […]

Veering off track in U.S. high schools? Redirecting student trajectories by disrupting punishment and math course-taking tracks

Students in punishment “tracks” are rarely in advanced course-taking “tracks” in high school. Yet, there is little research that demonstrates the relationships between punishment and advanced course-taking, nor research that demonstrates how punishment and advanced course-taking together can impact long-term student trajectories. Using multi-level modeling with a national longitudinal study of high school students, we observed reciprocal disruptions. Advanced […]

Disparate Impacts: Balancing the Need for Safe Schools With Racial Equity in Discipline

Policy responses to gun violence within K-12 school systems have not stopped the increasing frequency of their occurrence, but have instead increased racial and ethnic disparities in multiple forms of discipline. The crisis prevention policies that follow school shootings tend to exacerbate racial and ethnic discipline disparities (a) within schools as practitioners enact policies with […]