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Slowdowns in the economy are inevitable. While it may be tempting to rely on Federal Reserve policy as a lone response to recessions, this would be a mistake; we know that fiscal stimulus is effective. Rather than wait for a crisis to strike before designing discretionary fiscal policy, we would be better served by preparing in advance. Enacting evidence-based automatic stabilizer proposals before the next recession will help the next recovery start faster, make job creation stronger, and restore confidence to businesses and households.
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is both an effective antipoverty program and a natural automatic stabilizer, expanding when the economy is weak and contracting when it is strong. Hilary Hoynes of the University of California, Berkeley and Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach of Northwestern University present reforms to strengthen SNAP’s countercyclical effects.
Despite improvements across a number of economic indicators, rates of child experience of and exposure to food insecurity have failed to see reductions in the past three years. In this analysis, Lauren Bauer and Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach explore the various ways children experience food insecurity, as well as its impacts nationwide from pre-recession to today.
This paper characterizes the types of individuals who would face work requirements in SNAP and Medicaid, describes what their work experiences are over a two-year period, and identifies the reasons why they are not working if they experience a period of unemployment or labor force nonparticipation. The analysis concludes that proposed work requirements would put at risk access to food assistance and health care for millions who are working, trying to work, or face barriers to working.
Millions of Americans could lose their SNAP benefits if Congress adopts additional work requirements that mandate SNAP beneficiaries work at least 20 hours per week. Lauren Bauer and Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach argue that work requirements will burden those already in the labor market, especially SNAP recipients who shift between full-time and part-time work due to labor market volatility.
To investigate the extent of exposure to additional work requirements for SNAP participants, we describe monthly employment stability and find considerable churn in the labor market across the 20 hours per week threshold proposed in the House Farm Bill. Over 16 months, between one in five and one in three adults 18-59 without young children at home could be exposed to sanction under the House work requirement proposal.
Lauren Bauer and Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach provide an update on the state of food insecurity in the U.S., noting that despite economic growth across the country, food insecurity among households with children is still above its pre-recession level.
In this Hamilton Project strategy paper, Lauren Bauer, Patrick Liu, Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach, and Jay Shambaugh articulate a framework for states as they oversee implementation of statewide accountability plans under the Every Student Succeeds Act and describe how states differ in their approaches. The authors present novel analyses of the factors at the school and student levels that relate to chronic absenteeism and describe evidence-based strategies for schools as they work to reduce rates of chronic absence among students.
The U.S. economy will not operate at its full potential unless government and employers remove impediments to full participation by women in the labor market. The failure to address structural problems in labor markets, tax, and employment policy that women face does more than hold back their careers and aspirations for a better life. Barriers to participation by women also act as brakes on the national economy, stifling the economy’s ability to grow. To address these problems, The Hamilton Project published this book featuring a host of public policies to promote women’s economic opportunity.
While women’s labor force participation has increased substantially in the U.S. over the second half of the 20th century, this growth has stagnated and reversed since 2000. This pattern persists across women of varying races and ethnicities, educational backgrounds, ages, and marital statuses, and for women with and without children alike. Black, Schanzenbach, and Breitwieser note that this decline seems to be moving directly against the trends observed in other major OECD economies.
Our nation’s labor force participation rate has fallen steadily since 1999, a trend that many economists find troubling, since the labor force participation rate is an indicator of household living standards and economic vitality. In this economic analysis, The Hamilton Project examines the characteristics of the approximately 24 million men and women of prime working age who were not in the labor force in 2016.
In this op-ed, Hamilton Project Director Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach and AEI Resident Scholar Michael R. Strain discuss the importance of government-collected data in shaping public policy research, specifically the U.S. Census, and argue that the recent lack of funding for the census is short-sighted.