MADISON, WI (February 15, 2021) — History has shown us that economic recessions and recoveries tend to affect society unevenly. But the pandemic economy has had such disparate impacts that a new term has been coined to describe it: the K-shaped recovery. Why is this happening? How has the pandemic recession impacted low-income individuals, women, and families in particular? Could recently proposed antipoverty policies be the key to a more equitable recovery? What do these policy packages include — and what real-world outcomes might we expect from them?

On the next UW Now Livestream, three UW experts discuss the practical impact of the pandemic recession and the policies that may drive recovery. The talk will be moderated by Mike Knetter, president and CEO of the Wisconsin Foundation and Alumni Association.

Featured guests:

  1. Michael Collins, PhD, is the faculty director of the Center for Financial Security. He is also the Fetzer Family Chair in Consumer and Personal Finance in the School of Human Ecology, a professor at the La Follette School of Public Affairs, a family economics specialist for the Division of Extension, and an affiliate of the Institute for Research on Poverty and the Center for Demography and Ecology. Collins studies consumer decision making in the financial marketplace, including the role of public policy in influencing credit, savings, and investment choices. He founded PolicyLab Consulting Group — a research consulting firm working with national foundations and government agencies — and cofounded SpringFour, an online database for mortgage servicers and counselors.

Laura Dresser, PhD, is a clinical assistant professor in the Sandra Rosenbaum School of Social Work. She is also the associate director of COWS (formerly Center on Wisconsin Strategy), a UW-Madison think-and-do tank, where she has worked for more than two decades. Her research and practice focus on low-wage work and workforce development systems. She has analyzed the structure of low-wage jobs and worked extensively with labor, business, and community leaders to build stronger labor market systems. A coeditor of The Gloves-Off Economy: Workplace Standards at the Bottom of America’s Labor Market, she is currently working on issues surrounding care work and the connection between quality care, quality jobs, and minimum wages.

Tim Smeeding, PhD, is the Lee Rainwater Distinguished Professor of Public Affairs and Economics in the Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs. A nationally renowned expert on antipoverty policy, Smeeding’s recent work has focused on social and economic mobility across generations, inequality of income, consumption and wealth, and poverty in national and cross-national contexts. He was the founding director of the Luxembourg Income Study from 1983–2006 and served as director of the Institute for Research on Poverty from 2008 to 2014. He is the coeditor of SNAP Matters: How Food Stamps Affect Health and Well-Being; From Parents to Children: The Intergenerational Transmission of Advantage; and The Handbook of Economic Inequality.

When: Tuesday, Feb. 16, at 7 p.m. CST


Where: The UW Now Livestream:

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