Each year's poverty figures are anxiously awaited by policymakers, analysts, and the media. Yet questions are increasing about the 30-year-old measure as social and economic conditions change. In Measuring Poverty a distinguished panel provides policymakers with an up-to-date evaluation of Concepts and procedures for deriving the poverty threshold, including adjustments for different family circumstances. Definitions of family resources. Procedures for annual updates of poverty measures. The volume explores specific issues underlying the poverty measure, analyzes the likely effects of any changes on poverty rates, and discusses the impact on eligibility for public benefits. In supporting its recommendations the panel provides insightful recognition of the political and social dimensions of this key economic indicator. Measuring Poverty will be important to government officials, policy analysts, statisticians, economists, researchers, and others involved in virtually all poverty and social welfare issues.
A Framework and Review of Current Work, Interim Report
Author: National Research Council
Publisher: National Academies Press
Category: Social Science
The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) of 1996 fundamentally changed the nation's social welfare system, replacing a federal entitlement program for low-income families, called Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC), with state-administered block grants, the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. PRWORA furthered a trend started earlier in the decade under so called "waiver" programs-state experiments with different types of AFDC rules-toward devolution of design and control of social welfare programs from the federal government to the states. The legislation imposed several new, major requirements on state use of federal welfare funds but otherwise freed states to reconfigure their programs as they want. The underlying goal of the legislation is to decrease dependence on welfare and increase the self-sufficiency of poor families in the United States. In summer 1998, the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) of the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) asked the Committee on National Statistics of the National Research Council to convene a Panel on Data and Methods for Measuring the Effects of Changes in Social Welfare Programs. The panel's overall charge is to study and make recommendations on the best strategies for evaluating the effects of PRWORA and other welfare reforms and to make recommendations on data needs for conducting useful evaluations. This interim report presents the panel's initial conclusions and recommendations. Given the short length of time the panel has been in existence, this report necessarily treats many issues in much less depth than they will be treated in the final report. The report has an immediate short-run goal of providing DHHS-ASPE with recommendations regarding some of its current projects, particularly those recently funded to study ''welfare leavers''-former welfare recipients who have left the welfare rolls as part of the recent decline in welfare caseloads.
The War on Poverty, instituted in 1965 during the administration of Lyndon B. Johnson, was one of the chief elements of that president s Great Society initiative. This book describes and assesses the major social science research effort that grew up with, and in part because of, these programs. Robert H. Haveman s objective is to illuminate the process by which social and political developments have an impact on the direction of progress in the social sciences. Haveman identifies the policy measures most closely tied to the War on Poverty and the Great Society and describes the nature of these policies and their growth from 1965 to 1980. He examines the extent and growth of resources devoted to the poverty-related research that accompanied these programs, and assesses the impact of the growth in this research commitment over the 1965 1980 period. Haveman s was the first full overview of recent poverty-related research and an overview of methodological developments in the social sciences in the post-1965 period which were stimulated by the antipoverty effort. "
Why do politicians and civil servants commission research and what use do they make of it in policymaking? The received wisdom is that research contributes to improving government policy. Christina Boswell challenges this view, arguing that policymakers are just as likely to value expert knowledge for two alternative reasons: as a way of lending authority to their preferences; or to signal their capacity to make sound decisions. Boswell develops a compelling new theory of the role of knowledge in policy, showing how policymakers use research to establish authority in contentious and risky areas of policy. She illustrates her argument with an analysis of European immigration policies, charting the ways in which expertise becomes a resource for lending credibility to controversial claims, underpinning high-risk decisions or bolstering the credibility of government agencies.
The National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs, administered by the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), are key components of the nation's food security safety net, providing free or low-cost meals to millions of schoolchildren each day. To qualify their children each year for free or reduced-price meals, many families must submit applications that school officials distribute and review. To reduce this burden on families and schools and to encourage more children to partake of nutritious meals, USDA regulations allow school districts to operate their meals programs under special provisions that eliminate the application process and other administrative procedures in exchange for providing free meals to all students enrolled in one or more school in a district. FNS asked the National Academies' Committee on National Statistics and Food and Nutrition Board to convene a panel of experts to investigate the technical and operational feasibility of using data from the continuous American Community Survey (ACS) to estimate students eligible for free and reduced-price meals for schools and school districts. The ACS eligibility estimates would be used to develop "claiming percentages" that, if sufficiently accurate, would determine the USDA reimbursements to districts for schools that provided free meals to all students under a new special provision that eliminated the ongoing base-year requirements of current provisions. Using American Community Survey Data to Expand Access to the School Meals Program was conducted in two phases. It first issued an interim report (National Research Council, 2010), describing its planned approach for assessing the utility of ACS-based estimates for a special provision to expand access to free school meals. This report is the final phase which presents the panel's findings and recommendations.