Chris Blattman

IPA’s weekly links

Guest post by Jeff Mosenkis of Innovations for Poverty Action.

Adapted from


  • In a revealing and moving interview, two researchers describe their research into the lives of Americans living on $2/day. They find multitudes outside the social safety net, including evidence of the poor being actively discouraged from applying for federal aid they’re entitled to so the state can keep it:

Rae McCormack, after months and months of having nothing and being in very dangerous double-up situations, went in and applied for TANF, and her caseworker told her, “We don’t have enough to go around for everyone. Come back next year.” She took that as a no, but the caseloads in Ohio in particular are quite low.

Rural areas, where aid is low and access to transportation is poor, have it worst, and they describe how people exploit others just to survive:

The not-quite-so-poor wind up preying on the extreme poor to get by leading to real material hardship that’s probably outside most people’s sense of what ought to go on in America.

And from SMBC Comics (via Rohit) have a tough ethical problem? Let an economist help:



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