2010 Small Grants Competition: The Effects of Recessions and Recoveries on the Well-Being of Workers and Families



The economic crisis has already led to declines in the gross domestic product and increases in the unemployment rate that are greater than in any recession since that of 1981-1982. And the collapse of stock prices and housing prices has reduced the financial wealth and economic security of a significant portion of the entire population.  Many low and middle-income families have experienced layoffs, reductions in work hours, difficulty finding jobs, mortgage defaults, disruptions of retirement plans, and related labor market insecurities and financial troubles.

Just as the recession and the housing crisis are severe by historical standards, the ARRA is a dramatic policy response -- it represents the largest two-year increase in federal spending on low-income families in decades and has the potential to offset some of the negative consequences of the economic crisis.  For example, the ARRA increases unemployment insurance benefits (UI) and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly Food Stamps) benefits and provides increased tax credits to the working poor in an attempt to reduce market-induced declines in consumption and prevent serious material hardships.  The ARRA provides additional funds to states and local governments to prevent additional layoffs and to support projects that attempt to stabilize communities and neighborhoods. 

The focus of the NPC’s 2010 small grants competition was on understanding how increased federal spending and other program initiatives cushion the negative effects of economic shocks.  Funding was awarded to projects that seek to broaden and/or deepen our understanding of the effects of recessions and/or the impact of increased federal spending through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) or through other program initiatives on the well-being of workers and families. 

The following grants were awarded.

Funded Research

Foreclosure Counseling and Homeowner Outcomes
Maximilian D. Schmeiser and J. Michael Collins, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Economic Distress and Relationship Quality: Evidence from the Great Recession
Kristen Harknett, University of Pennsylvania and Daniel Schneider, Princeton University

The Role of Information in Food Stamp Caseloads
Stacy Dickert-Conlin, Michigan State University, Katie Fitzpatrick and Laura Tiehen, U.S.D.A., Economic Research Service

Funds for this competition are provided by the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Learn about past NPC small grants