Papers: Poverty

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The Hamilton Project Policy Response to the 2014 State of the Union Address

January 2014 • Economic Security, Education, Effective Government, Employment & Wages, Energy & Environment, Global Economy, Infrastructure, Poverty, State & Local, Tax Policy, Technology & Innovation

In his 2014 State of the Union address, President Barack Obama spoke of a “breakthrough year for America” and foreshadowed a “year of action.” He focused on ways to expand opportunities for Americans by enhancing employment and education options for low-and middle-income citizens, developing more robust worker training programs, investing in America through infrastructure investments and energy innovation, the importance of making progress on immigration reform, and more. Since its launch in 2006, The Hamilton Project has released a range of targeted policy proposals that provide innovative, evidence-based approaches to addressing many of the policy priorities set forth in the Presidents address.

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Hamilton Project Work on Higher Education: Policy Proposals to Promote Access and Affordability

January 2014 • Economic Security, Education, Poverty

On January 16, President Obama hosted college and university presidents from around the country for a summit to discuss new approaches for promoting college access, with a focus on reaching low-income students. The Hamilton Project has produced significant work highlighting the importance of higher education for economic mobility, in addition to a series of papers by outside experts on improving college access and affordability. A menu of Hamilton Project work on this topic is included for easy reference.

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The “Ripple Effect” of a Minimum Wage Increase on American Workers

January 2014 • Melissa S. Kearney, Benjamin H. HarrisEconomic Security, Effective Government, Employment & Wages, Poverty

In this month’s Hamilton Project employment analysis, we consider the “ripple effects” of a minimum wage increase on near-minimum wage workers, finding that a minimum wage increase could benefit up to 35 million workers.

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The Importance of Unemployment Insurance for American Families & the Economy: Take 2

December 2013 • Melissa S. Kearney, Benjamin H. HarrisEconomic Security, Effective Government, Employment & Wages, Poverty

In the absence of congressional action to extend unemployment insurance, 1.3 million Americans will immediately lose their benefits on December 28th. In this month’s employment analysis, The Hamilton Project reexamines unemployment insurance and highlights evidence suggesting that extended benefits provide a sizable boost for workers and the economy.

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A Dozen Facts about America’s Struggling Lower-Middle Class

December 2013 • Melissa S. Kearney, Benjamin H. HarrisEconomic Security, Effective Government, Employment & Wages, Poverty, Tax Policy

These economic facts focus on two key challenges facing lower-middle-class families: food insecurity and the low return to work for families who lose tax and transfer benefits as their earnings increase.

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Giving Secondary Earners a Tax Break: A Proposal to Help Low- and Middle-Income Families

December 2013 • Melissa S. Kearney, Lesley TurnerPoverty, Economic Security, Employment & Wages, Effective Government, Tax Policy

The current tax system hampers low- and middle-income families who add secondary earners to the workforce to augment their primary breadwinner’s income. In a new Hamilton Project discussion paper, Melissa Kearney and Lesley Turner propose a secondary earner tax deduction that would help make work pay for dual-earner families.

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Strengthening SNAP for a More Food-Secure, Healthy America

December 2013 • Diane Whitmore SchanzenbachPoverty, Employment & Wages, Economic Security, Effective Government, State & Local

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)—formerly known as the Food Stamp Program—is an essential part of America’s social safety net. In a new Hamilton Project discussion paper, Diane Schanzenbach proposes five reforms that could strengthen SNAP, including incentives for participants to purchase healthier foods and improvements to the benefit formula.

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Hunger and the Important Role of SNAP as an American Safety Net

November 2013 • Melissa S. Kearney, Benjamin H. HarrisEconomic Security, Effective Government, Health Care, Poverty

In this month’s economic analysis, The Hamilton Project focuses on two critical issues related to SNAP: (1) the widespread existence of both food insecurity and obesity among low-income children in the United States, and (2) the role of SNAP in fighting poverty during times of weak labor markets. SNAP participation rises and falls in lockstep with the unemployment rate, highlighting SNAP’s role as a safety-net program that bolsters family resources when employment and wages are low.

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Sequestration’s Threat to America’s Most Vulnerable

March 2013 • Michael Greenstone, Adam LooneyPoverty, Employment & Wages, Effective Government, Economic Security

In this month’s employment analysis, The Hamilton Project looks at current poverty trends in the United States, the important role of government support programs, and how sequestration could remove critical aspects of the safety net in the midst of continued labor-market weakness. The Project finds sequestration could throw many American families back into poverty during this sensitive period of economic recovery by cutting the very programs that are helping them stay above water.

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The Hamilton Project Policy Response to the State of the Union Address

February 2013 • Economic Security, Education, Effective Government, Employment & Wages, Energy & Environment, Global Economy, Health Care, Infrastructure, Poverty, State & Local, Tax Policy, Technology & Innovation

In his State of the Union address, President Barack Obama outlined an ambitious second-term agenda focusing on policies to help strengthen America’s middle class through broad-based economic growth. Since its launch in 2006, The Hamilton Project has released a range of targeted policy proposals that provide innovative, evidence-based approaches to address many of the priorities set forth in this year’s address, which we offer as a resource to policymakers in response to specific ideas mentioned by the President this week.

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The Marriage Gap:  The Impact of Economic and Technological Change on Marriage Rates

February 2012 • Adam Looney, Michael GreenstoneEmployment & Wages, Economic Security, Poverty

The Hamilton Project examines the decline the marriages over the last 50 years, highlighting the correlation between income level and likelihood of marrying. The decline in marriage is concentrated among less-educated, lower-income Americans.

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Building America’s Job Skills with Effective Workforce Programs: A Training Strategy to Raise Wages and Increase Work Opportunities

November 2011 • Michael Greenstone, Adam LooneyEmployment & Wages, Education, Global Economy, Economic Security, Poverty

Amid the Great Recession and rapid technological changes, both workers with less education and workers who have been displaced from long-tenured jobs face challenges because they lack the particular skills that employers demand for good-paying jobs. In a new Hamilton Project strategy paper, Michael Greenstone and Adam Looney address the importance of developing workers’ skills through training and workforce development programs, and examine newly available evidence on policies that boost job opportunities and wages.

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Raising Job Quality and Skills for American Workers: Creating More-Effective Education and Workforce Development Systems in the States

November 2011 • Harry J. HolzerEmployment & Wages, Education, Economic Security, Global Economy, Poverty

Less educated workers often experience prolonged periods of unemployment and stagnating wages because they lack the skills necessary to compete in a global economy. In a new Hamilton Project paper, Harry J. Holzer proposes a set of competitive grants to fund education, training, and career counseling initiatives that feature private sector connections based on the experience of existing successful workforce development programs.

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Policies to Reduce High-Tenured Displaced Workers’ Earnings Losses Through Retraining

November 2011 • Louis S. Jacobson, Daniel G. Sullivan, Robert J. LaLondeEmployment & Wages, Education, Poverty, Global Economy, Economic Security

After being displaced from long-tenured jobs, workers often experience persistent, significant earnings losses. New research suggests that retraining in certain “high-return” fields can substantially reduce these losses. In a new Hamilton Project paper, Louis S. Jacobson, Robert J. LaLonde and Daniel G. Sullivan propose the establishment of a Displaced Worker Training (DWT) Program to distribute grants to displaced workers so they can obtain longer-term training to substantially increase their earnings. The DWT Program would also leverage the nation’s One-Stop Career Centers to assess and counsel grantees.

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June’s Employment Numbers Highlight America’s Increasingly Distressed Communities

July 2010 • Adam Looney, Michael GreenstoneEconomic Security, Employment & Wages, Poverty, State & Local

June’s employment numbers highlight that our economic recovery is not yet on solid footing. An analysis by The Hamilton Project digs into the regional distribution of these unemployment trends and finds that, by one measure, the five hardest-hit states are Alabama, Delaware, Colorado, Georgia, and Utah.

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Improving the Measurement of Poverty

December 2008 • Rebecca M. Blank, Mark H. GreenbergPoverty

The Hamilton Project held a policy forum and released a discussion paper by Rebecca Blank and Mark Greenberg on the need for a new national poverty measure that better reflects the actual economic conditions of low-income Americans.

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From Prison to Work: A Proposal for a National Prisoner Reentry Program

December 2008 • Bruce WesternEmployment & Wages, Poverty, Effective Government

This paper proposes a national prisoner reentry program whose core element is up to a year of transitional employment available to all parolees in need of work.

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Getting More from Low-Income Housing Assistance

September 2008 • Edgar O. OlsenPoverty

Edgar Olsen examines shortfalls with the current system of low-income housing assistance and proposes a transition to an entitlement housing assistance program that relies exclusively on tenant-based assistance.
 

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New Hope: Fulfilling America’s Promise to “Make Work Pay”

December 2007 • Johannes M. Bos, Greg J. Duncan, Lisa A. Gennetian, Heather D. HillEmployment & Wages, Poverty

The New Hope program was designed to assist workers by providing work supports including access to quality child care and health insurance.  This paper evaluates the program and provides recommendations for scaling it up nationally. 

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Better Workers for Better Jobs: Improving Worker Advancement in the Low-Wage Labor Market

December 2007 • Harry J. HolzerEmployment & Wages, Poverty

This paper proposes a new federal funding stream to identify, expand, and replicate the most successful state and local initiatives designed to spur the advancement of low-wage workers in the United States.

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A Hand Up: A Strategy to Reward Work, Expand Opportunity, and Reduce Poverty

December 2007 • Jason E. Bordoff, Jason FurmanEmployment & Wages, Poverty

This paper offers a strategy to reduce poverty and strengthen growth across the income spectrum by helping people find jobs, investing in human capital, and creating a strong social safety net.

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