Professor Luke Shaefer spoke with the New York Times about how the stimulus checks issued during the pandemic brought an immediate reduction in food insecurity, which, he says, continues to fall. “We could potentially be at the lowest level of food insecurity ever recorded, because of the government transfers,” said Shaefer.
Professor Luke Shaefer spoke with the New York Times about how the new monthly child tax credit could increase economic stability for families. "When we load up so much of our aid in an annual big refund, it means so many of our families are going into the red by the end of the year," Professor Shaefer said. "We used to think about poverty in the United States as static - your income is below the poverty line - but people's lives are very volatile."
Luke Shaefer was quoted in the New York Times on his co-authored study showing that the last two rounds of stimulus checks substantially reduced hardship, especially among the poorest households and those with children. Shafer said “We see an immediate decline among multiple lines of hardship concentrated among the most disadvantaged families.”
Professor Luke Shaefer’s book “$2.00 a Day'' helped lay the groundwork for current antipovery legislative efforts, including President Biden’s American Rescue Plan. A recent New York Times article describes how Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) arranged for all his Democratic Senate colleagues to receive a copy of the book.
Shaefer’s research was also cited in a New York Times article detailing how the availability of safety net programs have compounded the uncertainty and hardships faced by vulnerable populations during the pandemic — especially for those struggling with poverty and depression. “When the government acted, things got better — when the aid went away, things got worse,” he said.
Luke Shaefer spoke with the New York Times about the expansion of the child tax credit in Biden’s plan against child poverty. “To me, it’s the most transformational thing that’s under discussion, and nobody’s talking about it,” says Shaefer.
Professor Luke Shaefer spoke with the New York Times about Biden’s child poverty plan. “This is the boldest vision laid out by an American president for fighting poverty, and child poverty in particular, in at least half a century,” said Shaefer.
In March, Congress approved more than $2 trillion in economic relief, including hundreds of billions of dollars to individuals in direct stimulus payments, nutritional assistance and bigger-than-normal unemployment checks. The aid “has been much more effective than I first thought,” said Luke Shaefer “It was probably the most effective social safety net response we’ve ever had.”
Professor Luke Shaefer has been named a 2020 Andrew Carnegie Fellow. The two-year award provides $200,000 in support of his project, “Deepening Our Understanding of America's Most Vulnerable Communities.” Shaefer is also the Hermann and Amalie Kohn Professor of Social Justice and Social Policy at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, and the director of U-M’s Poverty Solutions.
The Andrew Carnegie Fellows Program was established in 2015 and provides philanthropic support for high-caliber scholarly research in the humanities and social sciences that addresses important and enduring issues confronting our society. Shaefer is one of 27 fellows named to the 2020 class. The criteria prioritize the originality and potential impact of a proposal, as well as a scholar’s capacity to communicate the findings with a broad audience.
“I am deeply honored to be named one of the Carnegie Fellows,” says Shaefer. “The fellowship will help me and my collaborators immensely in our work to more deeply understand disadvantage in this country and help direct resources and action to where they’re needed most.”
Today the Regents of the University of Michigan approved H. Luke Shaefer’s appointment as the inaugural Hermann and Amalie Kohn Professor of Social Justice and Social Policy at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, for a five-year term, through February 2025.
In 2018, with a generous gift to the Ford School, U-M alumnus Harold L. Kohn and Carol K. Kohn and the Kohn Charitable Trust established the Hermann and Amalie Kohn Professorship in Social Justice and Social Policy. The gift supports a faculty member whose scholarly work and research focus on social justice and gives a voice to those who are disadvantaged in society.
Shaefer has established himself as a major scholar of contemporary American social welfare policy. He is co-author with Kathryn Edin of the acclaimed book, $2 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America. Shaefer is the inaugural director of U-M’s Poverty Solutions, an interdisciplinary, cross-campus presidential initiative to inform, identify and test innovative strategies to prevent and alleviate poverty.
“I am deeply honored to be named the Hermann and Amalie Kohn Professor of Social Justice and Social Policy,” says Shaefer. “Above all else in my work, I seek to use evidence and analysis to drive real, positive change for families who are vulnerable. The Kohn family’s generous gift, in memory of Hermann and Amalie, inspires me to continue on in this to the fullest extent I know how.“
Shaefer holds a joint appointment with the School of Social Work and the Ford School. Michigan Social Work Dean Lynn Videka, states, ”Luke Shaefer is an exemplary interdisciplinary scholar and leader in the proudest Michigan tradition. The Hermann and Amelie Kohn Professorship in Social Justice and Social Policy supports the important social justice work that Shaefer’s research informs, and it supports collaboration between Social Work and the Ford School.”
As our country confronts the economic fallout from the coronavirus, Shaefer has been actively engaged as a public voice in the New York Times, and other outlets, on the consequences facing low-income families, and in developing policies to help families weather the crisis here in Michigan.
Shaefer received his Bachelor of Arts from Oberlin College in 2001, and his M.A. in 2005 and Ph.D. in 2008, both in social service administration, from The University of Chicago.
Professor Luke Shaefer is quoted in a New York Times article detailing how low-income families often bear the brunt of the pain in natural disasters and large-scale emergencies. “They tend to be the first hit when things go wrong and then also to take the longest time to recover.”
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