Earnings, Public Assistance, and Well-being
(Poverty and Income Policy)
*Names in bold indicate Presenter
The second paper by Kahn-Kravis et al. describes a mixed method study being conducted as part of the Minimum Wage Study at the University of Washington. This study uses multiple waves of data from workers in low-wage jobs and raising children, including respondents’ monthly budgets and qualitative interview data, to examine both the objective and subjective realities of financial well-being. Preliminary findings suggest that families struggle to makes ends meet on low wages, but that the same objective budget circumstances produce variable subjective experiences of financial well-being.
Using data from the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) spanning more than a decade (1996-2008), the third paper by Altman et al. explores the relationship between immigrant legal status and the experience of material hardship in seven individual measures of housing, medical, dental, utility, food, and essential expenses hardship. The authors estimate probit models predicting the probability of experiencing each form of material hardship controlling for demographic characteristics and year fixed effects. Preliminary results reveal a legal status gradient irrespective of hardship outcome. Unauthorized immigrants experience the highest rates of hardship on every outcome and naturalized immigrants experience the lowest.
The fourth and final paper, by Garfinkel et al., uses data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing study (FFS) to describe the role of welfare state benefits in the economic lives of US children from birth to age 15. The paper builds on previous research examining welfare state benefits through age 5 and found that the absolute value of benefits received by married parents, cohabiting parents, and single mothers was nearly equal, whereas the relative value was very different. Welfare state transfers and the taxes required to finance them reduced family status differences. This paper examines the extent to which these patterns and magnitudes persist or change as children grow older and enter adolescence.
The panel’s discussant, Marci Ybarra, is an academic with expertise in poverty and inequality and family wellbeing.