Friday, January 17, 2020: 9:45 AM-11:15 AM
Independence BR H, ML 4 (Marriott Marquis Washington DC)
Cluster: Inequality, Poverty, and Social Welfare Policy (IP&SWP)
Stacia Martin-West, PhD, University of Tennessee, Chattanooga
Michael Lewis, PhD, Hunter College
The post-Recession economy is marked by increased income volatility (Morduch & Siwicki, 2017), exclusion from financial markets and products (Friedline, Despard, & West, 2019), and a preponderance of jobs that neither pay the bills or provide enough income to help families build wealth (Kahn, 2018) particularly for populations served by social workers. Annual income fluctuations of 25% or more impact nearly half of US households (Pew Charitable Trusts, 2017). Some financial products, including alternative financial services institutions, target vulnerable communities, while bank branch closures are related to reduced access to small business loans (Xu, 2018), and a disproportionate lack of bank branches located in rural and communities of color (National Community Reinvestment Coalition, 2017). Finally, as economic security has become unattainable for most, low to moderate income households are patching together multiple jobs to make ends meet, and most do not have any emergency or retirement savings (Prosperity Now, 2018). The macroeconomic changes have catalyzed social work interventions and experiments poised to answer key questions for the profession and the economy at large. Each of these interventions are founded in the professional Grand Challenges to reduce extreme economic inequality and to build financial capability for all (AASWSW, 2016). The purpose of this panel is to provide findings of three interventions that may shape how we practice economic justice in policy and practice. Two of these interventions relate to guaranteed income (GI), or an unconditional income provided to select group of individuals on a monthly basis for a finite period. The third intervention relates to community benefits agreements (CBAs), which are agreements between community and developers to ensure equitable economic benefit. Papers 1 and 2 discuss findings and methods of the Stockton Economic Empowerment Demonstration (SEED), the first city-led guaranteed income experiment in the US. Paper 1 finds remarkable outcomes from respondents that challenge that narratives of shame, blame, and deservedness that are typically associated with social safety net programs. Paper 2 discusses the unique challenges and opportunities to conducting an RCT of this guaranteed income experiment that is adequately powered to capture subtle quantitative change, yet is flexible enough to examine the how and why of those small change signals. Paper 3 describes findings of the public comment period associated with the largest CBA in US history, unveiling previously hidden concerns about community exploitation and extraction. Paper 4 provides initial insight into how recipients of Ontario, Canada's basic income pilot position their experience in that program alongside traditional welfare programs.
* noted as presenting author
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