Grants and Contracts Details


The focus of the Center, which is submitted under the call for Area Poverty Research Centers, will be on the study of poverty and its correlates as it pertains to theCommonwealth of Kentucky and the South in relation to the Nation as a whole. For the purposes of this proposal the South consists of the following sixteen states as established by the Southern Legislative Conference: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia. A focused research agenda on the causes, consequences, and effects of poverty and its correlates among the residents of Kentucky and the South is critical to our Nation's poverty research effort because: Poverty is most acute in Kentucky and the South. Between 1980 and 2000 average poverty rates were 40 percent higher in Kentucky and 25 percent higher in the South relative to the Nation as a whole. Income inequality is more pronounced in Kentucky and the South. Between 1980 and 2000 average inequality (defined as the ratio of income at the 80thpercentile to the 20th percentile) in Kentucky was 9 percent higher and in the South was 5 percent higher than the national average. Cash welfare and food stamp utilization rates are higher in Kentucky and the South. Between 1980 and 2000 the average fraction of Kentucky's population on AFDC/T ANF or food stamps exceeded the national average by 25 and 45 percent, respectively. Labor market opportunities are weaker in Kentucky and the South relative to the Nation. The average unemployment rate in Kentucky between 1980 and 2000 exceeded the national average by 17 percent, while the unemployment rate in the South exceeded the national average by 8 percent. These statistics indicate that the South lags the U.S. as a whole in some key economic outcomes,and a detailed focus on the economic and social opportunities, as wen as challenges, facing lowincome populations in Kentucky and the South will greatly aid local, regional, and national policymakers in the design of anti-poverty programs and policies. The University of Kentucky is the ideal location for an Area Poverty Center with a research focus on Kentucky and the South. There exists a community of scholars across the campus conducting research on low-income populations, including members of the Departments of Economics, Political Science, Sociology, and Rural Sociology, the Martin School of Public Policy, and the College of Social Work. The University, with a student body exceeding 32,000, offers baccalaureate and graduate degrees in all the major social and behavioral sciences, and thus ample opportunities to mentor undergraduate and graduate students in the study of poverty and its correlates. Moreover, the University has a well-established record of supporting highquality research and research centers, which will smooth the transition period at the start of the grant award. Indeed there are over 60 research centers and institutes located on campus, including the Appalachian Center which has focused on issues salient to the residents of the Appalachian region for the past 25 years. Lastly, the City of Lexington, with a MSA population of over 400,000, offers a full service airport and ample lodging and dining choices for visitors to the Center. The Center, which is to be housed in the Department of Economics, will have an organizational structure reflective of the cross-disciplinary emphasis of the research agenda. The proposed Director is James P. Ziliak, who is the Carol Martin Gatton Chair in Microeconomics and is a nationally recognized scholar in poverty and public policy research. Assisting the Director will be five departmental Liaisons-Aaron Yelowitz trom Economics, Colleen Heflin from Policy, Jeffrey Talbert from Political Science, Joanna Badagliacco from Sociology, and Mary Secret from Social Work. The Liaisons will assist the Director in the primary activities supported by the Center, and with their varied backgrounds will foment a truly multidisciplinary environment at the Center. Guiding the long-tenn direction of the Center will be both an internal Executive Committee and a National Advisory Committee. The Executive Committee will consist of EdwardJennings, who is a Professor of Public Policy and former Chair of the Political Science department, and James Hougland, who is Professor of Sociology and current Acting Chair of the Department of Sociology. While the National Advisory Committee is to be selected in conjunction with ASPE, we have identified several possible candidates including Sheldon Danziger at the University of Michigan, Katherine Harris at the University of North Carolina, Robert Moffitt at Johns Hopkins University, and Douglas Besharov at the American Enterprise Institute. Rounding out the Center's research structure will be faculty affiliates from multiple divisions on campus. The Center staff and faculty affiliates will produce high-quality research on the causes, consequences, and effects of poverty and its correlates in Kentucky, the South, and the Nation. In addition it will support numerous opportunities for research and mentoring, and will utilize multiple media to disseminate Center activities to the policy and research communities. Firstyear research projects by the Center staff include a quantitative evaluation of the impact of Medicaid managed care on infant and child-well being in Kentucky, a quantitative monitoring of child health outcomes, particularly trends in Type-II diabetes, among children on Medicaid in Kentucky, and an ethnographic study of the link between poverty and intimate partner violence and the attendant implications on labor-market status for welfare mothers in the era of welfare reform. To foster additional research on poverty in the South, the Center will support (i) a competitive internal grants program, which will be open to all faculty affiliates conducting research on issues salient to low-income populations; (ii) a regional small grants competition, which will provide research support to non University of Kentucky faculty conducting poverty research with an emphasis on the South; and (iii) a Joint Poverty and Policy Seminar Series, which will be cross-disciplinary and will consist of both internal and external speakers. Closely related to the research activities of the Center will be mentoring activities. Included in the latter are (i) an Emerging Scholars Program, which will support week-long visits by young, untenured poverty scholars to the University of Kentucky to present, discuss, and refine their research agendas; (ii) a Dissertation Fellowship Program, which will competitively support up to two Ph.D. students across divisions in their dissertation research; (iii) research assistantships (funded as part of the internal grants competition) for graduate and undergraduate students interested in poverty and public policy research; and (iv) graduate and undergraduate courses on poverty and public policy and on program evaluation. The Center will employ multiple media to disseminate its research. The primary avenues include (i) a state-of-the-art Web page, which will provide links to the Center's research activities, related centers on campus, the National Poverty Center, and the associated local, state, and government agency Web pages; (ii) a working paper series, which will be available on-line via the Center's Web page as well as in hard copy; (iii) a Quarterly Regional Policy Brief, which will highlight one or several policy issues salient to Kentucky and the South. The Quarterly Brief will be written for a general audience and will be widely distributed to the policy and research communities both via the Web and hard copy; and (iv) On-Site Policy briefings by the Center's Director and one other senior staff member at the annual meetings of the Southern Governors Association and the Southern Legislative Conference.
Effective start/end date9/30/029/29/05


  • Department of Health and Human Services: $472,499.00


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