Learning and Teaching During COVID-19

Contact My SSW Intranet Report Sexual Misconduct

Main menu

H. Luke Shaefer

Professor of Social Work, School of Work; Center Director, Poverty Solutions; Hermann and Amalie Kohn Professor of Social Justice and Social Policy, Professor of Public Policy, Associate Dean for Research and Policy Engagement, Gerald R Ford School of Public Policy; Faculty Associate, Survey Research Center, Faculty Associate, Population Studies Center, Institute for Social Research; and Adjunct Professor of Law, Law School

H. Luke  Shaefer

H. Luke Shaefer, Ph.D. is the Hermann and Amalie Kohn Professor of Social Justice and Social Policy and Associate Dean for Research and Policy Engagement at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan. He is also a professor of social work and the inaugural director of Poverty Solutions, an interdisciplinary, presidential initiative that partners with communities and policymakers to find new ways to prevent and alleviate poverty. Through his role at Poverty Solutions, Shaefer acts as a special counselor on anti-poverty policy to the director of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

Shaefer’s research on poverty and social welfare policy in the United States has been published in top peer-reviewed academic journals in the fields of public policy, social work, public health, health services research, and history, and his work has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and U.S. Census Bureau among other sources. He has presented his research at the White House and before numerous federal agencies, has testified before the U.S. Senate Finance Committee and has advised a number of the nation’s largest human service providers.

His work has been cited in media outlets such as the New York Times, Washington Post, The Economist, The Atlantic, and Los Angeles Times, and he has been featured on such programs as Marketplace and CNBC’s Nightly Business Report. His book with Kathryn Edin, “$2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America,” was named one of the 100 Notable Books of 2015 by the New York Times Book Review, and won the Hillman Prize for Book Journalism among other awards. He was recently named to an Andrew Carnegie Fellowship.

Shaefer received his BA in politics from Oberlin College and AM and PhD from the University of Chicago, School of Social Service Administration.

Research Interests/Focus

Social safety net, low-wage workers, economically disadvantage families, non-profit management


Year Degree   School
2008 PhD Social Service Administration University of Chicago, Illinois
2005 MA Social Service Administration University of Chicago, Illinois
2001 BA Politics Oberlin College, Oberlin, OH


Poverty Solutions

Allard, S. W., Wathen, M. V., Shaefer, H. L., & Danziger, S. K. (in press). Neighborhood Food Infrastructure and Food Security in Metropolitan Detroit. Journal of Consumer Affairs.

Shaefer, H. L., Wu, P., & Edin, K. (2017). Can Poverty in America be Compared to Conditions in the World’s Poorest Countries. American Journal of Medical Research, 4(10, 84-92.

Lapidos, A., Shaefer, L. & Gwozdek, A. (2017). Factors Associated with Appointment-Keeping in a University Dental Clinic System: Toward Practice-Based Population Health. Public Health.

Shaefer, H. L., Garfinkel, I., Harris, D., Waldfogel, J., Wimer, C., & Wu, P. (2017). Convert the child tax credit into a universal child allowance: A policy action to reduce extreme economic inequality. Grand Challenges for Social Work: Policy Action Statement.

Phillips, E., Shaefer, L., Aksu, M. & Lapidos, A. (2016). Is a mid-level dental provider model acceptable to potential patients? Community Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology.

Lein, L., Danziger, S. K., Shaefer, H. L., & Tillotson, A. (2016). Social Policy, Transfers, Programs and Assistance. In D. Brady & L. Burton (Eds.), Oxford Handbook of Poverty and Society. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Nicholl, K. L., Phillips, E., Shaefer, H. L., & Simoncic, T. (2016). Low-Income Parents’ Perceptions of Oral Health and Acceptance of Mid-level Dental Providers. Journal of Dental Hygiene, 90(2), 100-110.

Kimberlin, S., Shaefer, H. L. & Kim, J. (2016). Measuring Poverty Using the Supplemental Poverty Measure in the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, 1998 to 2010. Journal of Economic and Social Measurement, 41(1), 17-47.

Fusaro, V. & Shaefer, H. L. (2016). How Should We Define Low-Wage Work? An Analysis Using the Current Population Survey. Monthly Labor Review, October.

Rodems, R. & Shaefer, H. L. (2016). Left Out: Policy Diffusion and the Exclusion of Black Workers from Unemployment Insurance. Social Science History, 40(3), 385-404.

Lapidos, A., Shaefer, H. L. & Gwozdek, A. (2016). Toward a Better Understanding of Dental Appointment-Keeping Behavior. Community Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology, 44(1), 85-91.

Phillips, E. Shaefer, H. L., Lapidos, A. & Aksu, M. N. (2016). Is a Mid-level Dental Provider Model Acceptable to Potential Patients? Community Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology, 44(5), 426-434.

Wiederspan, J., Rhodes, E., & Shaefer, H. L. (2015). Expanding the discourse on antipoverty policy: Reconsidering a negative income tax. Journal of Poverty.

Edin, K. & Shaefer, H. L. (2015). $2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Lapidos, A., Shaefer, H. L., & Gwozdek, A. (2015). Toward a better understanding of dental appointment-keeping behavior. Community Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology, 43(4).

Danziger, S. K., Danziger, S. H., Seefeldt, K. S. & Shaefer, H. L. (2015). From welfare to a work-based safety net: An incomplete transition. point/counterpoint. Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, 35(1), 231-238.

Shaefer, H. L., Edin, K. & Talbert, E. (2015). Understanding the dynamics of $2-a-Day poverty in the United States. The Russell Sage Foundation Journal of the Social Sciences, 1(1), 120-138.

Kim, J. & Shaefer, H. L. (2015). Are household food expenditures responsive to entry onto the supplemental nutrition assistance program? Social Science Quarterly, 96(4), 1,086-1,102.

Phillips, E., Shaefer, H. L. & Gwozdek, A. (2015). Safety Net Care and midlevel dental practitioners: A case study of the portion of care that might be performed under various setting and scope-of-practice assumptions. American Journal of Public Health, 105(9), 1770-1776.

Danziger, S. K., Seefeldt, K. S., & Shaefer, H. L. (2015). Increasing work opportunities and reducing poverty two decades after welfare reform. Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, 35(1), 241-244. Wiley Publications.

Gwozdek, A. E., Tetrick, R., & Shaefer, H. L. (2014). The origins of Minnesota's mid-level dental practitioner: Alignment of problem, political and policy streams. Journal of Dental Hygiene, 88(5), 292-301.

Shaefer, H. L., & Evangelist, M. (2014). Families at risk, report II: The impact of the 2011 changes to Michigan's unemployment insurance program on unemployed workers and their families. Report for the Michigan Unemployment Insurance Project.

Shaefer, H. L., Song, X., & Williams Shanks, T. R. (2013). Do single mothers use the Earned Income Tax Credit to reduce unsecured debt? Review of Economics of the Household, 11(4), 659-680.

Aksu, M., Phillips, E., & Shaefer, H. L. (2013). US dental school deans' attitudes toward mid-level providers. Journal of Dental Education, 77(11), 1469-1476.

Phillips, E. & Shaefer, H. L. (2013). Dental therapists: Evidence of technical competence. Journal of Dental Research, 92(7 suppl), S11-S15.

Shaefer, H. L., & Edin, K. (2013). Rising extreme poverty in the United States and the response of means-tested transfers. Social Service Review, 87(2), 250-268.

Shaefer, H. L. & Gutierrez, I. (2013). The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and material hardships among low-income households with children. Social Service Review, 87(4), 753-779.

Gould-Werth, A. & Shaefer, H. L. (2013). Do alternative base periods increase unemployment insurance receipt among low-educated unemployed workers? Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, 32(4), 835-852.

Shaefer, H. L. & Boudreaux, T. (2012). Private charitable giving during economic recessions. Families in Society, 93(1), 5-10.

Gould-Werth, A., & Shaefer, H. L. (2012). Participation in unemployment insurance: Difference in application rates and receipt among applicants by education and race and ethnicity. Monthly Labor Review, 135(10), 28-41.

Shaefer, H. L., & Edin, K. (2012). Extreme Poverty in the United States: 1996 to 2011. National Poverty Center Policy Brief, 28.

Shaefer, H. L., & Ybarra, M. (2012). The welfare reforms of the 1990s and the stratification of material well-being among low-income households with children. Children and Youth Services Review, 34(9), 1810-1817.

Shaefer, H. L. (2012). Families at risk: the impact of the 2011 changes to unemployment insurance on Michigan's unemployed families and children. Report for the Michigan Unemployment Insurance Project.

Shaefer, H. L., Grogan, C. M., & Pollack, H. A. (2011). Who transitions from private to public health insurance? Lessons from expansions of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program. Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved, 22(1), 359-370.

Sammons, E. D., Shaefer, H. L., & Ybarra, M. (2011). The Children’s Bureau and the passage of the Sheppard-Towner Act of 1921: Early social work macro practice in action. Families in Society, 92(4), 358-363.

Shaefer, H. L., Grogan, C. M., & Pollack, H. A. (2011). Transitions from private to public health coverage among children: Estimating effects on out-of-pocket medical costs and health insurance premium costs. Health Services Research, 46(3), 840-858.

Shaefer, H. L. & Wu, L. (2011). Unemployment insurance and low-educated single working mothers before and after welfare reform. Social Service Review, 85(2), 205-228.

Hill, H. D., & Shaefer, H. L. (2011). Covered today, sick tomorrow? Trends and correlates of children’s health insurance instability. Medical Care Research and Review, 68(5), 523-536.

Shaefer, H. L., & Miller, M. (2011). Improving access to oral health care services among underserved populations in the US: Is there a role for mid-level dental providers? Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved, 22(3), 740-744.

Shaefer, H. L., Tetrick, R., & Phillips, E. (2011). Could a mid-level dental provider increase access to oral health care in Michigan? Michigan Journal of Public Health, 5(1), 53-84.

Shaefer, H. L. (2011). [Review of the book Proposal Writing: Effective Grantsmanship 3rd Ed by Soraya M. Coley & Cynthia A. Scheinberg]. Administration in Social Work, 35(5), 551-552.

Shaefer, H. L., Tetrick, R. & Phillips, E. (2011). Increasing access to oral health care in Michigan: A discussion of three possible solutions. Post-Conference Memo.

Shaefer, H. L. (2010). Identifying key barriers to unemployment insurance for disadvantaged workers in the United States. Journal of Social Policy, 39(3), 439-460.

Shaefer, H. L. (2010). [Review of the book Minimum wages]. Journal of Social Policy, 39(2), 330-332.

Shaefer, H. L. (2010). Nonstandard work and economic crisis: What changes should we expect? Journal of Poverty: Innovations on Social, Political and Economic Inequalities, 14(1), 17-32.

Shaefer, H. L., DeLand, M., & Jones, T. R. (2010). Leading collaborations: Creating strategic alliances, strategic restructuring via mergers, acquisitions, and integration. In K. A. Agard (Ed.), Leadership in Nonprofit Organizations. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Shaefer, H. L., & Sammons, E. (2009). The development of an unequal social safety net: A case study of the employer-based health insurance (non) system. Journal of Sociology and Social Welfare, 36(3), 179-199.

Shaefer, H. L. (2009). Part-time workers: Key differences between primary and secondary wage earners. Monthly Labor Review, 132(10), 3-15.

Shaefer, H. L. (2008). [Review of Reshaping the American workforce in a changing economy]. Social Service Review, 82(4), 759-762.

Contact Us Press escape to close