Downing Lecture 2017 - Professor Hilary Hoynes

The Long Run Effects of the Social Safety Net A common framework for evaluating human capital, training, and early life stimulation/parenting programs is as an investment: Resources are invested upfront that generate returns over the longer run (in terms of education, labor market, health, etc.). Paradoxically, we don’t typically evaluate social assistance programs within this same lens. Instead anti-poverty programs are typically evaluated by comparing current period benefits (to reducing poverty) to the costs (fiscal cost and distortive efficiency costs of the redistribution). In this talk, Professor Hilary Hoynes will summarize the recent and growing literature that examines the benefits of the social safety net over the longer run. There is particular interest in evaluating the effects of childhood exposure and access to social assistance programs and how they affect later life education, labor market and health outcomes. These important findings allow us to quantify how investing when children are young can translate to private and public benefits in the longer run.

Professor Hilary Hoynes Hilary Hoynes is a Professor of Economics and Public Policy and holds the Haas Distinguished Chair in Economic Disparities at the University of California Berkeley. Hoynes specializes in the study of poverty, inequality, food and nutrition programs, and the impacts of government tax and transfer programs on low income families. Current projects include evaluating the effects of the access to the social safety net in early life on later life health and human capital outcomes, examining the effects of the Great Recession on poverty and the role of the safety net in mitigating income losses. Professor Hoynes is a member of the American Economic Association’s Executive Committee, the Federal Commission on Evidence-Based Policy Making, and the National Academy of Sciences Committee on Building an Agenda to Reduce the Number of Children in Poverty by Half in 10 Years. From 2011 to 2016 she was the co-editor of the leading journal in economics the American Economic Review. In 2014 she received the Carolyn Shaw Bell Award from the Committee on the Status of the Economics Profession of the American Economic Association. Previously, she was a member of the Advisory Committee for the National Science Foundation, Directorate for the Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences and the National Advisory Committee of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Scholars in Health Policy Research Program. Hoynes received her PhD in Economics from Stanford in 1992 and her undergraduate degree in Economics and Mathematics from Colby College in 1983.