Category Archives: Family

News Coverage of Poverty: With Market Hot, Landlords Slam the Door on Section 8 Tenants

News coverage of poverty: Glenn Thrush, With Market Hot, Landlords Slam the Door on Section 8 Tenants,, Oct. 12, 2018.


New Blog Post: An exclusive look at Cory Booker’s plan to fight wealth inequality: give poor kids money

New Blog Post: Sarah Kliff, An exclusive look at Cory Booker’s plan to fight wealth inequality: give poor kids money,, Oct. 22, 2018.

New Article: Questioning Market Aversion in Gender Equality Strategies: Designing Legal Mechanisms for the Promotion of Gender Equality in the Family and the Market

New Article: Hila Shamir, Tsilly Dagan, & Ayelet Carmeli, Questioning Market Aversion in Gender Equality Strategies: Designing Legal Mechanisms for the Promotion of Gender Equality in the Family and the Market, Cornell Journal of Law and Public Policy, Forthcoming, 2018.

Abstract below:

Post-industrial economies are at a crossroad. On the one hand countries are dealing with the crisis of unemployment and underemployment, developing strategies to increase labor market participation of all adults, and increase productivity. On the other hand, the same countries are responding to demographic concerns regarding an aging population and decreased birth ratios. These concerns, coupled with a growing demand for gender equality in the labor market, and better work/family balance, lead to the development of new tax and welfare policies around child care, as well as restructuring the workplace to fit the needs of workers with familial care obligations. A storm of new legislation, regulation and voluntary initiatives attempting to address child care, parental leaves, and the structure of the work day, are sweeping through developed economies, with significant innovation, variation, and experimentation.

The feminist policy and scholarly debate around these policies seem to presume that market based mechanisms for the promotion of gender equality are inferior to state based mechanisms, and that generally, those who care about gender equality should be suspicious of turning to the market for solutions, because it is an institution that tends to replicate rather than ameliorate gender inequality. In this paper we seek to question market aversion within these debates. In particular, we ask whether the theoretical premise of the discussion – the harsh dichotomy between market and state – is plausible at all, and particularly at the current moment in the development of the regulatory state. Using examples from the fields of welfare, tax and employment law from a variety of post-industrial “developed” economies, we seek to destabilize the dichotomy and explore the wide array of policy tools on the spectrum between pure market-based policies and strictly state provided benefits. We offer a systemic analysis that exposes the myriad possible legal and institutional configuration available to policy makers.

Our analysis is grounded in an explicit and multifaceted discussion of the normative considerations that underlie policies aimed as regulating both the labor market and care work: namely, Distributive Justice (including gender equality); Efficiency; and Autonomy (including personhood and community). Part I of the article offers a rich account of each of these normative considerations and explains the complex (both positive and negative) effects of both market and state-governed mechanisms on promoting them. Good policy, we argue, should not sweepingly reject market mechanisms nor should it abandon state governed instruments but rather mix and match the advantages of both state and market mechanisms focusing on their potential real-life consequences. We use some examples from our comparative study in order to illustrate the potential for such hybrid mechanisms. We model the complex implications, seemingly technical legal mechanisms entail, and explain the unique mix of normative goals supported by each mechanism. In part II, building on the previous part, we offer a framework to analyze and develop policy that promotes gender equality in the family and the market, in the fields of tax, welfare and employment. In order to methodically decipher the different mechanisms available, and to be able to match them with the normative goals, as well as creatively think about possible institutional options, we build on existing literature to offer a typology of policy solutions along four mechanism-design criteria: (1) universal v. Selective (2) fixed sum v. income dependent (3) cash transfers v. in kind services (4) which institution provides the service (family, state, market, civil society). Each of these criteria reflect tensions between the underlying normative goals, and each represents a distinction between ideal type mechanisms that can, and we argue that should be, broken up and understood as a spectrum of modular tools to be mixed and matched in order to support varying combinations of normative ends.


New Article: Graying of U.S. Bankruptcy: Fallout from Life in a Risk Society

New Article: Deborah Thorne et al., Graying of U.S. Bankruptcy: Fallout from Life in a Risk Society, SSRN Aug. 2018. Abstract below:

The social safety net for older Americans has been shrinking for the past couple decades. The risks associated with aging, reduced income, and increased healthcare costs, have been off-loaded onto older individuals. At the same time, older Americans are increasingly likely to file consumer bankruptcy, and their representation among those in bankruptcy has never been higher. Using data from the Consumer Bankruptcy Project, we find more than a two-fold increase in the rate at which older Americans (age 65 and over) file for bankruptcy and an almost five-fold increase in the percentage of older persons in the U.S. bankruptcy system. The magnitude of growth in older Americans in bankruptcy is so large that the broader trend of an aging U.S. population can explain only a small portion of the effect. In our data, older Americans report they are struggling with increased financial risks, namely inadequate income and unmanageable costs of healthcare, as they try to deal with reductions to their social safety net. As a result of these increased financial burdens, the median senior bankruptcy filer enters bankruptcy with negative wealth of $17,390 as compared to more than $250,000 for their non-bankrupt peers. For an increasing number of older Americans, their golden years are fraught with economic risks, the result of which is often bankruptcy.

Op-ed: A One-Question Quiz on the Poverty Trap

Op-ed: David Leonhardt, A One-Question Quiz on the Poverty Trap, N.Y. Times, Oct. 4, 2018.

New Op-Ed: How weak schools serve Trump’s agenda

New Op-Ed: Arne Duncan, How weak schools serve Trump’s agenda,, Sept. 5, 2018.

Sharing another (great) blog post: National links: Homeowners of all political persuasions are NIMBY

Blog Post: Jeff Wood, National links: Homeowners of all political persuasions are NIMBY, GG Wash, Aug. 24, 2018.


News Coverage: The Age That Women Have Babies: How a Gap Divides America

age of first child

News Coverage: Quoctrung Bui & Claire Cain Miller, The Age That Women Have Babies: How a Gap Divides America,, August 4, 2018. “Researchers say the differences in when women start families are a symptom of the nation’s inequality — and as moving up the economic ladder has become harder, mothers’ circumstances could have a bigger effect on their children’s futures.”


New Op-Ed: What Is the ‘Success Sequence’ and Why Do So Many Conservatives Like It?

New Op-Ed: Brian Alexander, What Is the ‘Success Sequence’ and Why Do So Many Conservatives Like It?, July 31, 2018.

“The success sequence, trustworthy as it may sound, conveniently frames structural inequalities as matters of individual choice.”

New Op-Ed: The 2020 Census Is Already in Big Trouble

New Op-Ed: Vann R. Newkirk II, The 2020 Census Is Already in Big Trouble,, July 31, 2018.

“From cybersecurity issues to administrative problems to a legal drama over a possible citizenship question, there are plenty of reasons to worry about the decennial head count.”