Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs
Tuesday, September 20, 2016

IRP named national Poverty Research Center

Lawrence (Lonnie) Berger Lawrence (Lonnie) Berger

The Institute for Research on Poverty (IRP) at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, which includes several La Follette School faculty members as affiliates, has been awarded a five-year, $9.5 million cooperative agreement to serve as the national Poverty Research Center. The award comes as IRP marks its 50th year of examining the causes of poverty and inequality in the United States and approaches to reduce them.

“The La Follette School is delighted with the news that IRP’s exceptional work in understanding and resolving the causes of poverty continues to be recognized,” says La Follette School Director Don Moynihan. “IRP shares a committed and engaged application of social science research with La Follette, and it is no coincidence that so many La Follette faculty members are IRP affiliates or former directors.”

The award establishes IRP as the nation's only federally funded Poverty Research Center, an honor that IRP has shared with the Center for Poverty Research at the University of California, Davis, and the Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality for the past five years. IRP is the nation's longest-standing center for poverty research.

IRP's research, training, and dissemination activities focus on producing and promoting evidence to increase the effectiveness of public policies to reduce poverty and inequality and their consequences. To fulfill this mission, IRP has established the Collaborative of U.S. Poverty Centers (CUSPC), which represents a sustainable, nationwide infrastructure to facilitate the exchange of applied poverty-policy research ideas and findings among the nation's top scholars, policymakers, and policy practitioners.

Three La Follette School faculty members have served as director of IRP: Professor Barbara Wolfe (1994-2000), Professor Maria Cancian (2004-2008), and Professor Tim Smeeding (2009-2014). La Follette School Professor Emeritus Bob Haveman served as IRP director from 1971-1975. Lawrence (Lonnie) Berger, IRP’s current director, is a faculty affiliate of the La Follette School.