Linda Schmidt, PhD

Evolution of Responsibility for Poverty: New Federalism and State Poverty Reduction Coalitions

This study explores state vs federal responsibility for public intervention in poverty reduction over time in the US by identifying commonalities of states that have made poverty reduction a policy goal; comparing the constructs of having real decentralized power or only the appearance of having that power; and comparing states with and without specific poverty reduction targets in order to identify relationships between their actual capacity to act and other socioeconomic and political factors.

The study found that although states acknowledge their reliance on federal programs and funding sources as viable strategies for poverty reduction, they rarely address the state-federal partnership specifically. Also, consistent with earlier research, this study found that in general, states with lower poverty rates over time and less diversity in terms of race are more likely to adopt formal targets for poverty reduction. Future flexibility in regard to implementing poverty reduction efforts will only continue to exacerbate current gaps between states based largely on race without specific, thoughtful, and strategic interventions to address differences among states.

After graduation, Linda is hoping to find a position teaching policy in academia, or in public service.