PSC Brownbag Series: The Unemployment Institution

PSC Brownbag Series: The Unemployment Institution

In the Tolls of Uncertainty, Sarah Damaske argues unemployment is an institution—like workplaces, families, or schools—that both generates and reproduces inequalities. Like other fundamental parts of American society that are central to adult life, unemployment is governed by state and federal laws and bureaucracies, structured by organizations, and shaped by shared language & customs. And, like other institutions, unemployment differentially shapes people’s resources and has far-reaching consequences beyond the realm of the unemployed. Both the state and the federal government wield enormous influence over the process, from determining whether someone is considered unemployed, to whether they are eligible for unemployment insurance, to how much support they will receive and for how long a duration. The way people access the unemployment system is dependent on their own social location prior to coming into the unemployment system and their experience throughout their unemployment journey is shaped by the resources the unemployed have available when they lose their job. The state unemployment system provides both direct benefits (via unemployment insurance) and acts as a broker to additional resources (through career center services). Unemployment not only generates and reproduces inequalities between the employed and the unemployed, but also amongst the unemployed. Ultimately, the unemployment institution normalizes and legitimates both employment precarity and the resulting inequalities of the new economy.

Join us in person at ISR (Thompson Street) Room 1430.

Or online: Join Zoom Meeting
https://umich.zoom.us/j/95418610585?pwd=Z0cvdkF1T0R2cG1lRDEvVmlnbVdlZz09

Poverty is not Just Material: An Investigation of Attention and Time Poverties

This seminar will be presented by Visiting Scholar Dr. Irene Y.H. Ng, from the National University of Singapore.

While material poverty is an essential starting point for understanding the experiences of individuals in poverty, this presentation argues that policy responses are limited without understanding two other important poverties: attention and time poverties.

Along the lines of findings from behavioral research that poverty impedes cognitive function, Dr. Ng and her co-authors have found that a natural experiment of a debt relief program improved the psychological function of low-income individuals and that a “scam” experiment they implemented was more likely to trick low wage young workers who were financially distressed. Together with another set of colleagues, she is also conceptualizing a work-based time poverty measure that includes three constructs: long hours, nonstandard hours, and uncontrollable hours. They are discovering the pathways of influence from low wage to psychological well-being through time poverty and family-work conflict as mediators.

Dr. Ng’s presentation will share from her various research studies to suggest the importance of understanding the experience of poverty beyond the material, and to offer policy implications when attention and time poverties are also considered.

This event is co-sponsored by the Office of Global Activities, the School of Social Work ENGAGE Team, and the University of Michigan’s Poverty Solutions. Please note that this event has switched to a fully virtual (Zoom only) format. Information on how to join the Zoom meeting will be provided to those who register for the event.

RSVP

In Deep Water: The Role of Municipal Debt in Environmental Crises and Racial Disparities

Real World Perspectives on Poverty Solutions Speaker Series flyer

Real World Perspectives on Poverty Solutions Speaker Series flyerDr. Louise Seamster is an Assistant Professor in Sociology and Criminology and African American Studies at the University of Iowa, and a Nonresident Fellow in Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution. She studies race and economic inequality, particularly in cities, and writes about racial politics and urban development, emergency financial management, debt, and the myth of racial progress. One line of her research examines racial disparities in debt and debt markets, including “predatory inclusion” in student debt, and the different meaning of debt for black and white families. She has published in Contexts, Sociological Theory, Du Bois Review, Social Currents, Environment, and Planning A: Society and Space, and Ethnic and Racial Studies.

The talks, which are free and open to the public, will also be livestreamed on YouTube. U-M students can participate in the series as a one-credit course – look for it as SWK 503 section 001.

Fines and Fees: Punishing the Poor & Increasing Disparity

This discussion is co-sponsored by the University of Michigan Ford School of Public Policy’s Poverty Solutions.

From the cash bail system, to fines and fees while incarcerated, to the cost of reentering society, our society functions on a punitive system of fines and fees that often catapults those already experiencing hardship into a spiraling cycle of debt and repayments – never fully able to catch up. Join us as we explore the inequity surrounding fines and fees in our criminal justice system and its role in increasing race-based disparities. Featured panelists include Washtenaw County Prosecutors Eli Savit and Victoria Burton-Harris; and Dr. Meghan O’ Neil, Research Scholar at the Population Studies Center, Institute for Social Research. This panel will be facilitated by MSW Student and Co-founder of Michigan Liberation, Nicholas Buckingham.

Registration link

STS Speaker. Thinking Like an Economist: How Efficiency Replaced Equality in U.S. Public Policy

Popp Berman

Between the 1960s and the 1980s, an economic style of reasoning—one focused on efficiency, incentives, choice, and competition—became prominent within U.S. public policy, including in domains that were once not seen as particularly “economic”. Drawing on historical research on policy domains ranging from environmental to welfare to antitrust policy, I show how particular intellectual communities introduced and disseminated this style of reasoning, and examine its lasting political effects. As the values of economics—especially various forms of efficiency—became institutionalized through law, regulation and organizational change, it became harder for competing claims about rights, universalism, equity, and power to gain purchase. While economic reasoning had the potential to conflict with conservative as well as liberal values, in practice it was particularly constraining for the Democratic left—the implications of which continue to be felt. This talk will illustrate this larger argument with a focus on how these dynamics played out in the arena of social policy—welfare, health, housing, and education.

Bio: Elizabeth Popp Berman is Associate Professor of Organizational Studies and (by courtesy) Sociology at the University of Michigan. Her new book, Thinking Like an Economist: How Efficiency Replaced Equality in U.S. Public Policy, will be published with Princeton University Press in March 2022.

The local impact of safety nets on communities of color

COVID-19 reflections panelists

COVID-19 reflections panelists The first event in this three-part COVID-19 reflections series will feature a panel discussion on the local impact of safety nets on communities of color during the COVID-19 pandemic. The discussion will be moderated by Mara Ostfeld, associate faculty director of U-M Poverty Solutions. Panelists include:
– William Lopez; clinical assistant professor at U-M School of Public Health;
– Kat Stafford, national investigative reporter at the Associated Press; and
– Charles E. Williams, pastor of the Historic King Solomon Baptist Church in Detroit.

The Center for Racial Justice is partnering with Poverty Solutions and the National Center for Institutional Diversity to co-host a virtual event series that reflects on the local and state-level policies that have been instrumental in responding to the racialized health and economic disparities stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic. The series brings together a diverse group of changemakers, including national and local policymakers, journalists, researchers, and community leaders, to (1) meditate on the past and current racial dynamics of COVID-19 in Michigan and Detroit, and to (2) discuss the policies, programs, and practices that have successfully responded to the needs of communities of color disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.

Events will be held on April 1, May 6, and June 10.

Registration link

The local impact of safety nets on communities of color

COVID-19 reflections panelists

COVID-19 reflections panelists The first event in this three-part COVID-19 reflections series will feature a panel discussion on the local impact of safety nets on communities of color during the COVID-19 pandemic. The discussion will be moderated by Mara Ostfeld, associate faculty director of U-M Poverty Solutions. Panelists include:
– William Lopez; clinical assistant professor at U-M School of Public Health;
– Kat Stafford, national investigative reporter at the Associated Press; and
– Charles E. Williams, pastor of the Historic King Solomon Baptist Church in Detroit.

The Center for Racial Justice is partnering with Poverty Solutions and the National Center for Institutional Diversity to co-host a virtual event series that reflects on the local and state-level policies that have been instrumental in responding to the racialized health and economic disparities stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic. The series brings together a diverse group of changemakers, including national and local policymakers, journalists, researchers, and community leaders, to (1) meditate on the past and current racial dynamics of COVID-19 in Michigan and Detroit, and to (2) discuss the policies, programs, and practices that have successfully responded to the needs of communities of color disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.

Events will be held on April 1, May 6, and June 10.

Registration link

The local impact of safety nets on communities of color

COVID-19 reflections panelists

COVID-19 reflections panelists The first event in this three-part COVID-19 reflections series will feature a panel discussion on the local impact of safety nets on communities of color during the COVID-19 pandemic. The discussion will be moderated by Mara Ostfeld, associate faculty director of U-M Poverty Solutions. Panelists include:
– William Lopez; clinical assistant professor at U-M School of Public Health;
– Kat Stafford, national investigative reporter at the Associated Press; and
– Charles E. Williams, pastor of the Historic King Solomon Baptist Church in Detroit.

The Center for Racial Justice is partnering with Poverty Solutions and the National Center for Institutional Diversity to co-host a virtual event series that reflects on the local and state-level policies that have been instrumental in responding to the racialized health and economic disparities stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic. The series brings together a diverse group of changemakers, including national and local policymakers, journalists, researchers, and community leaders, to (1) meditate on the past and current racial dynamics of COVID-19 in Michigan and Detroit, and to (2) discuss the policies, programs, and practices that have successfully responded to the needs of communities of color disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.

Events will be held on April 1, May 6, and June 10.

Registration link