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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 Finding New Ways to Prevent and Alleviate Poverty in Michigan, the Nation, and the World
2015 Shaefer, H. L. (2015, March). Rising levels of $2-a-day poverty in the United States. Annual Drexler Lecture Keynote Speaker, American Baptist Seminary of the West.
2015 Shaefer, H. L. & Edin, K. (2015, January). Understanding the dynamics of $2-a-day poverty in the United States. Invited presentation to the Center for Wealth and Inequality Sseminar Series, Columbia University, NY, NY.
2014 Shaefer, H.L. & Edin, K. (January 2014). “Rising Extreme Poverty: Is the Employment-Based Safety Net Partly to Blame?” Invited presentation to the Council of Economic Advisors, Executive Office of the President of the United States.
2013 Shaefer, H. L. (2013, February). What happens when job loss strikes in low-income families? Webinar hosted by the Self-Sufficiency Research Clearinghouse.
2013 Shaefer, H.L. & Edin, K. (November 2013). “Rising Extreme Poverty: Is the Employment-Based Safety Net Partly to Blame?” Keynote Address at Symposium for the Employment Instability, Family Well-Being, and Social Policy Network (EINet), “Employment Instability and the Safety Net.”
2012 Shaefer, H. L. (2012, January ). The effects of participation in the supplemental nutrition assistance program on the material hardship of low-income families with children. Society for Social Work and Research (SSWR): Research that Makes a Difference: Advancing Practice and Shaping Public Policy.
2012 Shaefer, H. L. (2012, June). Single mother households during the great recession era: How are they faring? Inaugural Conference of the Work and Family Researchers Network (WFRN): Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Work and Family.

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