UC Davis Experts on Poverty, Economy, Wages

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University of California, Davis, sources are available for comment on a variety of aspects related to poverty and its effects. Sources listed here can address the economy, including minimum wage and taxes. This list was updated in 2021.

Child tax credit, safety net programs

Economists Marianne Page and Marianne Bitler have written a paper on the Child Tax Credit. Read that paper, “Cash for Kids,” published by the Russell Sage Foundation. They propose replacing the complicated array of benefits provided through the tax system with a universal child benefit of $2,000 per child that would be available regardless of parents’ work status. 

Marianne Page is a professor of economics, director of the Center for Poverty and Inequality Research, and a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research. She was appointed in 2020 to California Gov. Newsom’s Council on Economic Advisors. She specializes in inter-generational mobility and the impact social programs have on children. Her recent research includes investigations of the short- and long-term effects of U.S. public health investments in children (such as the WIC and Medicaid programs). She has also published papers on the impacts of educational investments. Contact: mepage@ucdavis.edu

Marianne Bitler is a professor of economics with the Center for Poverty and Inequality Research. Her research measures the impact of various government safety net programs, including TANF, SNAP, WIC and the ACA. She is chair of the Panel on Improving Consumer Data for Food and Nutrition Policy Research Service for the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, which released a report, “A Consumer Food Data System for 2030 and Beyond,” in March 2020. She is a research associate with the National Bureau of Economic Research, and she is currently serving on the Institute of Medicine’s Panel to Review the WIC Package. She co-authored a major study for the Brookings Institution’s Hamilton Project about how well TANF responded for families in poverty during the Great Recession. Contact: bitler@ucdavis.edu

Immigration, wages, employment

Kevin R. Johnson is the dean of the UC Davis School of Law and professor of Chicana/o Studies. He can speak about immigration, race and class, and public benefits. Johnson’s book, Immigration Law and the US-Mexico Border), received the Latino Literacy Now’s International Latino Book Awards – Best Reference Book.  Dean Johnson blogs at ImmigrationProf Blog and is a regular contributor on immigration on SCOTUSblog. Contact: krjohnson@ucdavis.edu

Giovanni Peri is a professor of economics and the director of the Global Migration Center at UC Davis. He is an expert on immigration’s effect on the economy and has analyzed the role of highly skilled foreign workers, students and refugees in the US economy. He can speak to impact of immigration on wages, on the effects of legalization of undocumented and on the impact of minimum wage on employment and jobs in the United States. Contact: gperi@ucdavis.edu

Erin Hamilton is associate professor of sociology.  Her current research investigates the social and demographic sources of international migration from Mexico to the United States. She authored a policy brief for the Center for Poverty & Inequality Research on the role of state health insurance policies in insuring immigrant children. Contact: Erin Hamilton, Department of Sociology, erhamilton@ucdavis.edu

Jacob Hibel is associate professor of sociology. His research focuses on the causes and consequences of childhood educational inequalities, including those related to poverty, disability, race/ethnicity, immigrant generation status, and spatial segregation. He wrote a policy brief for the Center for Poverty & Inequality Research that explores the impact of California’s Continuum of Care Reform Act.  Contact: Jacob Hibel, Department of Sociology, jhibel@ucdavis.edu

Education and poverty

Paco Martorell is an assistant professor of education. His research focuses on education policy and the value of education in the labor market. His current research explores whether potential employers prefer for-profit college or community college graduates, as well as the effects of automatic college admissions for the top 10 percent of high school graduates in Texas. He is also exploring new ways to place entering community college students into developmental courses to understand how to help them progress more quickly to higher-level coursework. Contact: pmartorell@ucdavis.edu

Scott Carrell is a professor of economics at UC Davis. His research focuses on the effect of school inputs, peer effects and barriers to college. He is also a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research, a Research Fellow at the Institute for the Study of Labor, and a Co-Editor for the Journal of Human Resources. Contact: secarrell@ucdavis.edu

Heather Rose is an associate professor in the School of Education at UC Davis. Her research relates to the effects of school finance systems, accountability programs, and governance structures on the distribution of school resources, student outcomes and achievement gaps. She also focuses on school financing systems and their impact on poor students. Contact: hmrose@ucdavis.edu

Child poverty

Paul Hastings is a professor of psychology. He studies child and adolescent development, parenting and family relationships, and biological processes. In particular, he can speak about the ways in which biological and environmental factors shape how children develop emotionally and socially, both in terms of normal and maladaptive development. He co-authored a policy brief for the Center for Poverty & Inequality Research that describes how poverty during childhood and adolescence can predict long-term health. Contact: pdhastings@ucdavis.edu

Ross Thompson is a distinguished professor of psychology. His research focuses on how to apply developmental research to public policies that include school readiness and its development, early childhood investments and early mental health. He can also speak about early parent-child relationships, the development of emotional understanding and emotion regulation, conscience development and the growth of self-understanding in young children. He wrote a policy brief for the Center for Poverty & Inequality Research that describes how poverty and depression affect a child’s social and emotional competence. Contact: rathompson@ucdavis.edu

Amanda Guyer is an associate professor in the Human Development and Family Studies Unit of the Department of Human Ecology. She is a developmental psychologist with expertise in the biological, cognitive and social-emotional aspects of human development during adolescence. She can speak about adolescent brain development, psychopathology (anxiety, depression, substance use), social and emotional development, the influences of parents and peers, stressful life events and the experience of poverty. Contact: aeguyer@ucdavis.edu

Camelia Hostinar is an assistant professor in the department of psychology. She also is affiliated with the UC Davis Center for Poverty Research and operates the Social Environment and Stress (SES) Lab. Hostinar studies how the social environment shapes health, with a focus on the activity of the stress-response and immune systems. She is probing the pathways linking early-life stress to later risk for disease and investigating protective processes that could short-circuit these adverse trajectories. Contact: cehostinar@ucdavis.edu

Health impacts of minimum wage

J. Paul Leigh is a professor emeritus in the Department of Public Health Sciences at the UC Davis School of Medicine. He is affiliated with the UC Davis Center for Healthcare Policy and Research and the Center for Poverty & Inequality Research. Leigh is an expert on the effects of minimum wages on public health. He can speak to positive health outcomes of increasing the minimum wage, arguments for and against the $15 minimum wage, and the complexities of estimating the effects of minimum wages on public health.  Contact:  pleigh@ucdavis.edu

Rural poverty

Lisa Pruitt is a professor of law. Her research focuses on the legal and policy implications of rural poverty, poverty and race, and poverty and place, as well as how the intersection of poverty and rurality affects women’s access to abortion. She can also speak about income inequality along the rural-urban continuum and declining mobility with an emphasis on diminishing access to higher education. Pruitt blogs about rural legal issues at Legal Ruralism Blogspot, and writes regularly for The Conversation. Contact: lrpruitt@ucdavis.edu

J. Edward Taylor is a professor of agricultural economics. He can discuss farm labor, internal and international migration, economic development, population and resources and labor economics. He can also discuss the impacts of immigration and other policy reforms on the supply of labor to U.S. farms and the economic welfare of California farm workers and the communities in which they live. He wrote a policy brief for the Center for Poverty & Inequality Research that describes the economic factors of a sharp anticipated decline in the supply of farm workers from Mexico. Contact: taylor@primal.ucdavis.edu

Tax policy

Dennis Ventry is a professor of law at UC Davis. Currently, he is working with New America and the Economic Security Project on legislation to help eligible EITC recipients file and receive the credit, including auto-filing, outreach, and simplified filing portals supported by state tax agencies and the IRS. Ventry is an expert in tax policy, tax practice, tax administration, legal and professional ethics, whistleblower law, state public records acts, family taxation, and U.S. economic and legal history. Contact: djventry@ucdavis.edu


Media Resources

Karen Nikos-Rose, News and Media Relations, UC Davis, 530-219-5472, kmnikos@ucdavis.edu

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