RSF Research in the News on the COVID-19 Crisis

May 8, 2020

As the United States reacts to the COVID-19 crisis, RSF looks to its community of scholars for data, analysis, and policy recommendations that help us understand and address the public health, socioeconomic, and political implications of the pandemic while prioritizing the experiences and concerns of the most marginalized families and communities. Research by RSF visiting scholars, grantees, authors, and trustees has been featured in national and international news coverage on the pandemic.

Early research indicates that the pandemic will be particularly devastating for low-wage workers. An RSF-supported research project led by Anna Gassman-Pines (Duke University) and Elizabeth Ananat (Barnard College) sheds light on the pandemic’s profound negative financial and psychological consequences on low-wage workers and their families. EconoFact and published findings from Gassman-Pines and Ananat’s research. RSF grantee Christopher Wimer (Columbia University) and co-author Zachary Parolin published a new policy brief that suggests how the pandemic might increase poverty levels in the United States, with disproportionate increases among children and African-Americans. The brief was featured in a New York Times article about poverty during the pandemic.

Scholars with RSF affiliations have written op-eds about and been cited in media reports about the economic impacts of COVID-19. Harry Holzer (Georgetown University), co-editor with Erica Groshen (Cornell University) of the recent RSF journal issue on Employment and Earnings in the 21st Century, wrote an op-ed for The Hill and was cited in the Los Angeles Times about the costs of reopening the economy too soon. Groshen contributed to a MarketWatch article on the recent spike in jobless claims and Reuters coverage of workers risking their health to ship luxury goods. RSF trustee Jason Furman was cited in a New York Times article drawing attention to useful lessons from the Great Recession.  Current visiting scholar Wojciech Kopczuk (Columbia University) was cited in the Toronto Globe & Mail and Washington Post for his research on essential workers and other economic issues.

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted deficits of the existing social safety net in the United States. Drawing on their RSF book, Administrative Burden: Policymaking by Other Means, Pamela Herd and Donald Moynihan (Georgetown University) wrote a New York Times op-ed on the difficulties of accessing unemployment and other government relief related to the COVID-19 epidemic. Several RSF grantees and visiting scholars were cited in the New York Times’ coverage of the frayed safety net by RSF grantee Jason DeParle. RSF author and grantee Ruth Milkman was interviewed for National Public Radio’s Morning Edition and Marketplace about how the lack of universal paid sick leave policies hinder efforts to combat the pandemic.

The social and political impacts of the crisis are both uncertain and potentially far-reaching. RSF author Grace Kao (Yale University) was quoted in a USA Today article about the rise of anti-Asian discrimination during the coronavirus epidemic. RSF visiting journalist Rich Benjamin wrote for the New York Review of Books about the potential impact of the crisis on the 2020 census. Current visiting scholar Miriam Ticktin (New School for Social Research) wrote an op-ed about the dangers of xenophobia for Immigration Impact.

For ongoing information about RSF research and publications related to the social, political, and economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, please visit the RSF newsfeed.





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.


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