Word Cloud for Work Requirements & Safety Net
A virtual public lecture sponsored by the
Montana State UniversityInitiative for Regulation and Applied Economic Analysis (IRAEA) 


Thursday, February 10, 2022

Social safety net programs like Medicaid and welfare sometimes require that beneficiaries be employed or involved in work-related activities to remain eligible. Like all policies, such work requirements have tradeoffs. They can incentivize self-sufficiency and in turn reduce welfare program costs. At the same time, safety net program beneficiaries often face substantial obstacles to employment, but training and other supports are under resourced, leaving those in need with few work opportunities.

In this public lecture, Professor James Ziliak, Carol Martin Gatton Endowed Chair in Microeconomics, University Research Professor, and Founding Director of the Center for Poverty Research at the University of Kentucky will discuss the economic rationale for and against work requirements, as well as research on the impacts of work requirements on labor supply, program participation, and the wellbeing of the welfare population.


photo of James Ziliak

James P. Ziliak holds the Carol Martin Gatton Endowed Chair in Microeconomics and is University Research Professor in the Department of Economics at the University of Kentucky. He currently serves as Department Chair, as Founding Director of the Center for Poverty Research, as Chair of the National Academies of Science Committee on National Statistics Panel on the Supplemental Poverty Measure, and as Research Fellow at the Institute for Fiscal Studies in London, England. He was a member of the Institute of Medicine’s Committee on Examination of the Adequacy of Food Resources and SNAP Allotments, and has held visiting positions at the Brookings Institution, Russell Sage Foundation, University College London, University of Michigan, and University of Wisconsin. He has published widely in leading economics journals and has edited or co-edited several volumes, including Income Volatility and Food Assistance in the United States (Upjohn Institute Press 2008), Welfare Reform and its Long Term Consequences for America’s Poor (Cambridge University Press 2009), Appalachian Legacy: Economic Opportunity after the War on Poverty (Brookings Institution Press 2012), SNAP Matters: How Food Stamps Affect Health and Well Being (Stanford University Press, 2015), and Entitlement Reform (The ANNALS of Political and Social Science, 2019). He received a BS degree in economics and BA degree in sociology from Purdue University, and his Ph.D. in Economics from Indiana University.

  • Welcome and Overview: Wendy Stock & Zach Fone, MSU IRAEA
  • Presentation: Work Requirements & The Social Safety Net  James Ziliak, University of Kentucky
  • Questions & Discussion