ESSPRI affiliates develop road map for policymakers.
by Dan Paley | March 4, 2019
ESSPRI affiliates Greg Duncan and Hilary Hoynes are working to reduce child poverty in America. Over the last two years, they joined a National Academies committee tasked with reducing the number of children living in poverty by half in 10 years. They found that it can be done through a combination of work-oriented and income-support programs.
Per Duncan, in a press release from UC Irvine, “The real innovation in the committee’s work was to develop packages of programs combining different elements — some increasing work, others decreasing child poverty — that meet the overall 50 percent reduction in child poverty goal while at the same time increasing employment among low-income adults.”
The cost — at least $90 billion a year — would be high, but the report warns that the price of not doing anything would be far greater. Indeed, estimates of the macroeconomic costs of children who grow up in poverty range from $800 billion to $1.1 trillion annually.
Among the committee’s program and policy options on the work-support side are the earned income tax credit and the child and dependent care tax credit. On the income-support side, they considered things like housing vouchers and food stamps.
“We found that none of the individual programs was able to lessen child poverty by the full 50 percent,” Duncan said. “But when we combined work-oriented and income support program enhancements, we were able to accomplish two goals that the nation cares about: reducing poverty and increasing employment.”
For the menu of options put forth by the committee, read the full report. The various potential packages range in size in terms of cost and impact. This set of options constitutes a road map with various routes for policymakers to take to meet this challenge.
To learn more about ESSPRI, visit esspri.uci.edu