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Edited by Lawrence M. Berger and Katherine Magnuson, University of Wisconsin-Madison; we also expect that
Maria Cancian will join us as a coeditor when she returns from leave in 2016-2017

The Institute for Research on Poverty (IRP) and the Russell Sage Foundation have historically collaborated on a series of edited volumes on poverty and poverty policy, which includes Fighting Poverty, Confronting Poverty, Understanding Poverty, and Changing Poverty, Changing Policies. This series has been widely used by teachers and scholars of poverty and related issues, and has traditionally been comprised of state-of-the art review chapters. The last volume, Changing Poverty, Changing Policies, was published in 2009. Since that time, there have been a number of volumes focusing on the Great Recession, as well as the fifty years of the War on Poverty. These works have extensively reviewed recent trends, research, and policy in the poverty arena. However, much less attention has been focused on innovative, specific anti-poverty policy proposals in light of this evidence. We believe that an issue of RSF highlighting such proposals would greatly serve the field. We outline our vision for the issue below.

The journal issue will showcase a collection of innovative and specific policy proposals intended to reduce poverty in the short- and/or long-term or improve economic wellbeing. Each article will focus on a specific social problem and/or population group. The issue aims to set the anti-poverty policy agenda for the next decade or more by presenting detailed real-world responses to current and emerging poverty-related problems. The policy or inter-related set of policies proposed in each article will include a description of the target group and problem; eligibility criteria; program/service or benefit type and amount; expectations regarding policy scope, reach, and take-up; potential heterogeneity in effects across population groups or geographic location; and expected cost and effectiveness, including public and private costs and benefits. Each article must be firmly grounded in existing social science research and present the science (theoretical and empirical research) underpinning the proposed policy. Articles should not propose an overarching policy agenda in a particular domain. Rather each article should propose a specific, potentially high-impact, innovative, or particularly promising policy or policy approach and present evidence in support of that approach. That is, articles should leverage existing research and policy analyses to present an evidence-based argument for implementing novel and potentially transformational policy innovations in a particular poverty-related domain.

The coeditors will contribute an extensive introductory piece that provides a roadmap of current and expected poverty-related trends, evidence on the causes and consequences of poverty, existing anti-poverty policies, and evidence on the efficacy of existing approaches to addressing poverty. They will also contribute a concluding piece that weighs the pros and cons of the various proposals, including key tradeoffs, feasibility, and prioritization. Selection will be determined by the potential for the proposed policy approach to decrease poverty and/or improve the economic wellbeing of low-income and poor individuals and families, as indicated by the strength and quality of the scientific evidence offered in its support.

Please click here for a full description of the topics covered in this call for papers.

Anticipated Timeline

Prospective contributors should submit a CV and an abstract (up to two pages in length, single or double spaced) of their study along with up to two pages of supporting material (e.g., tables, figures, pictures, etc.) no later than 5 PM EST on April 15, 2016 to:

All submissions must be original work that has not been previously published in part or in full. Only abstracts submitted to will be considered. Each paper will receive a $1,000 honorarium when the issue is published. All questions regarding this issue should be directed to Suzanne Nichols, Director of Publications, at and not to the email addresses of the editors of the special issue.

A conference will take place at RSF in New York City on October 28, 2016. The selected contributors will gather for a one-day workshop to present draft papers (due on September 28, 2016, a month prior to the conference) and receive feedback from the other contributors and editors. Travel costs, food, and lodging for one author per paper will be covered by the foundation. Papers will be circulated before the conference. After the conference, the authors will submit their revised drafts. The papers will then be sent out to two additional scholars for formal peer review. Having received feedback from reviewers and the RSF board, authors will revise their papers. The full and final issue will be published in the late 2017. Papers will be published open access on the RSF website as well as in several digital repositories, including JSTOR and UPCC/Muse.

Please click here for a full description of the topics covered in this call for papers.

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