Downloads

Public Transfers and Material Hardship in the Great Recession

Authors:
Publication Date:
Jan 2014
Project Programs:
The Social and Economic Effects of the Great Recession

The Great Recession was the worst episode of unemployment in the United States in decades. Job losses were distributed unevenly and affected disproportionately younger workers, minorities, and lesser-educated Americans. In a new paper, the Columbia Population Research Center’s Natasha V. Pilkauskas, Janet M. Currie, and Irwin Garfinkel explore the material hardships experienced by disadvantaged families and how well government programs were able to staunch the bleeding. The results indicate that the recession did indeed lead to spikes in material hardships, but that things would have been quite a bit worse if not for the response of the social safety net.

Using data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study (see Text Box), the authors examine associations between unemployment, material hardship and government transfers. The Fragile Families study provides a unique window into the impacts of the Great Recession, as data were collected from these families when their children turned 9 years old, which happened between 2007 and 2009—precisely the years over which the Great Recession fell.

RSF

RSF: The Russell Sage Foundation Journal of the Social Sciences is a peer-reviewed, open-access journal of original empirical research articles by both established and emerging scholars.

Grants

The Russell Sage Foundation offers grants and positions in our Visiting Scholars program for research.

Newsletter

Join our mailing list for email updates.