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US-China Forum 2021: Addressing Inequality and Promoting Social Welfare

Marci Ybarra

Photo of Professor Marci Ybarra

Marci Ybarra

Associate Professor, Crown Family School of Social Work, Policy, and Practice
Faculty Affiliate, Center for Human Potential and Public Policy
Faculty Affiliate, Center for the Study of Race, Politics, and Culture
The University of Chicago

Faculty Affiliate, Lab for Economic Opportunities
University of Notre Dame

Faculty Affiliate, Institute for Research on Poverty (IRP)
University of Wisconsin

Marci A. Ybarra’s research is concerned with the impact of public support on the well-being of low-income families. Her research interests include poverty and inequality, social service delivery, work supports, and family well-being. She conducts quantitative analysis of administrative and longitudinal survey data in addition to qualitative analysis through participant-observation and in-depth interviewing at social service agencies.

She currently investigates three different areas of social policy and how these affect economically disadvantaged families by impacting both their work and family life: welfare reform, childcare, and Paid Family Leave. Her research on welfare reform considers how different welfare policies shape entry, use, and exits from welfare programs and subsequent economic outcomes for poor, single mothers with children. Another line of research considers how different allocations of public provisions (childcare subsidies) and specific policies related to childcare impact how families decide to use the childcare subsidy system, changes in employment patterns, and childcare stability fluctuations over time.

Ybarra’s research on paid family leave examines how modern welfare programs function as a short-term maternity-leave program for some single poor mothers with infants. This area of research also considers the implications of implementing more Paid Family Programs and/or Temporary Disability Insurance (TDI) programs to enhance the well-being of families with children with an emphasis on low-income families.

The Self-Sufficiency Research Clearinghouse (SSRC) named Ybarra an Emerging Scholar in 2015. Ybarra earned her Bachelor of Social Work and Master of Social Work with a concentration in community practice from Wayne State University in Michigan. She also holds a PhD in social work from the University of Wisconsin – Madison and was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Michigan prior to coming to UChicago.