Robert D. Plotnick
PB AF 576
Examines the nature and extent of poverty in the United States, its causes and consequences, and the antipoverty effects of public policies.
This course provides a multidisciplinary introduction to poverty and antipoverty policies in the United States. We will focus on how poverty is measured, its causes, and its consequences for children. We will also address the politics and evolution of US social welfare policy, compare US social welfare policies to those in other affluent countries, analyze the effects of specific policies on household income and poverty, discuss how policies affect labor market, demographic and other behaviors, and consider the equity-efficiency trade-offs created by public policies. Readings will be drawn from the fields of developmental psychology, economics, political science, public policy, sociology, and social welfare. Other UW poverty experts from several disciplines will teach some of the topics.
Student learning goals
Knowledge of current literature on course topics
Knowledge of current policy issues on course topics
Ability to critically analyze relevant research literature from multiple disciplines
Ability to critically analyze policy debates and proposals relevant to course topics
Be able to orally present advanced research articles and lead discussion of them
General method of instruction
Seminar - discussion is largely driven by student interests and reactions to the readings. Student presentations. Some lectures by instructor
The seminar is for students from the social sciences and applied social sciences who are interested in taking a multi-disciplinary approach to understanding these issues and in improving their abilities to critically assess policy relevant social science research. Students are expected to have had at least two graduate level courses in quantitative methods, with an emphasis on applied regression analysis.
Class assignments and grading
Read assigned readings and be prepared to discuss them; preparation of discussion questions based on readings; presentations and critiques of selected assigned articles; written critiques of articles; quality of participation; oral presentations and written critiques; regularity of submission of discussion questions