CEPR Spotlight: Work, Poverty, and Inequality

December 14, 2021

CEPR’s research and analysis supports efforts to increase the power, economic security, and well-being of today’s ​diverse working class​. Over the last two decades, CEPR has helped progressive movements make the case for universal and inclusive social policies, including universal child allowances, universal child care, paid family and medical leave, and social housing, all of which are now on the cusp of passage as part of the Build Back Better Act.

In a series of widely cited reports, CEPR researcher Hayley Brown and economist Hye-Jin Rho have documented the overrepresentation and undercompensation of working-class people in essential jobs on frontlines of the pandemic. Senior Fellow Shawn Fremstad, a leading expert on the welfare state and poverty, has long called for turning the Child Tax Credit into an inclusive child allowance that is provided monthly to all children, a policy that is now included in Build Back Better. Julie Cai, CEPR’s newest economist and a research fellow at the Institute for Research on Poverty, has documented how a monthly child allowance would buffer negative earnings shocks that are common among working-class families. Fremstad has documented how the federal government has “defined poverty down” in a way that understates the extent of poverty among the working class, and detailed how to fix this problem. Young researchers, including Mariko Lewis, Clara Wilson, and Anaïs Goubert, have documented how the absence of universal social protections harms Black men, and how expanding health insurance in the Build Back Better Act would improve the health and well-being of young working-class men

CEPR provides a unique and much needed perspective on these issues. Thanks to all of you who have donated to our Spotlight campaign so far. If you haven’t, please consider making a contribution to CEPR and help us to continue to push for policies and reforms that will benefit all families.

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