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Bitler's work on social safety net shines in challenging times

Economics Professor Marianne Bitler has been active benefits of and holes in the U.S. social safety net, providing insight for policymakers during the Great Lockdown Recession.

Bitler wrote a discussion for the Millbank Quarterly, joint with UC Berkeley Professor Hilary Hoynes and Northwestern University's Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach, pointing out ways that programs crucial to help families falling into distressed circumstances during the current economic turmoil fall short. In particular, the authors question the attachment of work requirements or other critera as conditions for receiving support vital to health during economic downturns when unemployment rates increase economy-wide, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and Medicaid.

Journalist Eduardo Porter praised a research paper by Bitler, Hoynes, and UC Davis Ph.D. alum Elira Kuka underlying their essay in a New York Times article on likely impacts of the current recession.

Prior to the onset of the pandemic in the United States, Bitler spoke in an extensive interview by WalletHub on the benefits of Medicaid expansion and the obstacles that establishing work requirements as a condition of eligibility for social programs can pose for state governments.