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H. Luke Shaefer

Associate Professor of Social Work, School of Social Work, Faculty Associate, Survey Research Center, Faculty Associate, Population Studies Center, Institute for Social Research, Associate Professor of Public Policy, Gerald R Ford School of Public Policy and Center Director, Poverty Center

H. Luke  Shaefer
Luke Shaefer's research focuses on the effectiveness of the United States’ social safety net in serving low-wage workers and economically disadvantaged families.

His recent work explores rising levels of extreme poverty in the United States, the impact of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program on material hardships, barriers to unemployment insurance faced by vulnerable workers, and strategies for increasing access to oral health care in the United States.

H. Luke Shaefer, Ph.D. is the director of Poverty Solutions at the University of Michigan, an interdisciplinary, university-level initiative that seeks to inform, identify, and test innovative strategies to prevent and alleviate poverty.

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
Year Description
2018 Rackham Graduate School Funding
2018 2018 U-M Faculty Recognition Award
2017 Best Scholarly Book of the Year for $2.00 a Day, the Society for Social Work and Research.
2017 Named a “torch recipient” as a top leader under forty in the field of social insurance, National Academy of Social Insurance.
2016 "$2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America" shortlist for the J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize
2016 Finalist for Annual Literary Award for Adult Nonfiction Books, "$2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America," Columbia School of Journalism and Nieman Foundation, Harvard University.
2016 Winner of the Hillman Prize for Book Journalism, "$2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America," Sidney Hillman Foundation.
2015 Third place recognition in the 2015 Best Paper Award competition, Journal of Dental Hygiene
2015 "$2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America" named as one of The New York Times 100 Notable Books
2014-2015 Appointed to the National Academy of Sciences, National Research Council’s Panel on the Review and Evaluation of the 2014 Survey of Income and Program Participation Content and Design.
2014 Elected to Membership in the National Academy of Social Insurance
2013 Emerging Scholar, Self-Sufficiency Research Clearinghouse, sponsored by the Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation (ACF OPRE)
2013 Deborah K. Padgett Early Career Achievement Award, Society for Social Work and Research
2012-2013 Member of the University of Michigan School of Social Work Executive Committee.
2012-2013 Professor of the Year, University of Michigan School of Social Work Student Union
2011 Visiting Scholar, Institute for Research on Poverty, University of Wisconsin Madison
2011 Visiting Fellow, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University
2010 L.R. Klein Award for Best 2009 Monthly Labor Review Article by an Author outside of the Bureau of Labor Statistics
2009 Best Abstract Award, Academy Health Annual Research Meeting
2007-2008 School of Social Service Administration Dissertation Fellowship, 2007-08.
2000 Senior Scholar, Oberlin College, 2000.

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