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Poverty

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NPR

Prof. Tavneet Suri speaks with NPR reporter Nurith Aizenman about her ongoing research studying the impact of universal basic income with GiveDirectly, a U.S. charity that provides villagers in Kenya with a universal basic income. Suri says her results thus far, “add to the evidence that many poor people are trapped in poverty by a lack of capital for precisely the kinds of transformative investments they would need to vault them into higher incomes.”

NPR

Prof. Tavneet Suri speaks with NPR hosts Ari Shapiro and Nurith Aizenman about her research with GiveDirectly a U.S. based charity that provides villages in Kenya with universal basic income. Suri’s work studies how the method of income delivery payments – monthly income or single lump sum payments – can impact communities. “We need to see if these effects last,” says Suri. “Does it just disappear, or was this enough to keep them going forever?” 

Vox

New research by Prof. Tavneet Suri and Prof. Abhijit Banerjee explores how to most effectively direct cash to low-income households, reports Dylan Matthews for Vox.  Suri and Banerjee compare “three groups: short-term basic income recipients (who got the $20 payments for two years), long-term basic income recipients (who get the money for the full 12 years), and lump sum recipients, who got $500 all at once, or roughly the same amount as the short-term basic income group,” writes Matthews. “Suri and Banerjee found that the lump sum group earned more, started more businesses, and spent more on education than the monthly group.”

The Guardian

Prof. Tavneet Suri discusses GiveDirectly, the world’s largest universal basic income (UBI) program, which has been providing almost 5,000 people in Kenya with “a payment of about 75 cents (62p) a day since 2017,” reports Philippa Kelley for The Guardian. “We do see people leaving low wage jobs,” says Suri. “They are going and starting businesses, and the businesses are doing great because there’s money around.”

The New York Times

Adjunct Professor Emeritus Mel King, a political activist whose 1983 mayoral campaign helped ease racial tensions in Boston, has died at 94, reports Richard Sandomir for The New York Times. King’s work included “teaching in the urban studies and planning department of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology from 1970 to 1996,” writes Sandomir. “There, he started a Community Fellows Program for leaders nationwide.”

Metropolis

Prof. Sarah Williams speaks with Erin Langer at Metropolis about the Civic Data Design Lab’s Motivational Tapestry, a large woven art piece that uses data from the United Nations World Food Program to visually represent the individual motivations of 1,624 Central Americans who have migrated to the U.S. “By allowing a dialogue to open up and be less defensive, art allows us to understand and conceptualize an issue from a different vantage point,” explains Williams.  

The Verge

The Verge reporter Justine Calma writes that a new study by MIT researchers finds that while wind energy has measurably improved air quality, only 32% of those benefits reached low-income communities. “The research shows that to squeeze out the greatest health benefits, wind farms need to intentionally replace coal and gas power plants,” writes Calma. “And to clean up the most polluted places — particularly those with more residents of color and low-income households — those communities need to be in focus when deploying new renewable energy projects.”

HealthDay News

A new study by MIT researchers finds that increased usage of wind power is improving air quality in parts of the U.S., however only a third of the health benefits are being seen in disadvantaged communities, reports Alan Mozes for HealthDay. "Going forward," explains Prof. Noelle Selin, "more targeted policies are needed to reduce the disparities at the same time, for example by directly targeting [fossil fuel] sources that influence certain marginalized communities."

The Hill

Increased usage of wind energy has led to health benefits, but does not affect all communities equally, reports Saul Elbein for The Hill. The researchers found that in order to increase the benefits of wind energy, “the electricity industry would have to spin down the most polluting plants at times of high wind-supply — rather than their most expensive ones,” writes Elbein.

CBS News

Spatial Equity NYC, an online tool developed by MIT researchers and Transportation Alternatives, uses public information to address the racial and economic disparities between neighborhoods in New York City, reports Jenna Deangelis for CBS News. “Our team has focused on fostering data transparency, making open data more accessible, legible and useable,” says research associate Daniela Coray.

Gothamist

Researchers from MIT and Transportation Alternatives have developed an online tool using census information, city health data, and other public information to help understand the correlation between racial and health care disparities in New York City, reports Stephen Nessen for Gothamist. The researchers have found that “the New York City neighborhoods with the worst health and poverty outcomes, also tend to have more injuries from traffic,” writes Nessen.

New York Times

Prof. Esther Duflo speaks with New York Times reporter Peter Wilson about how climate change can impact global inequality. “The responsibility for the emissions that lead to climate change rests mainly with rich countries and their consumers, but the cost is mainly going to be borne by citizens in poor countries,” says Duflo. 

Vox

MIT and Harvard startup GiveDirectly, “identifies poor people and villages, usually in developing countries in sub-Saharan Africa, and distributes cash to them directly, usually via cellphone payment, instead of donations like food and livestock,” reports Dylan Matthews for Vox.

VoxDev

VoxDev spotlights the work of Prof. Abhijit Banerjee, Prof. Esther Duflo and graduate student Garima Sharma in studying the long-term effects targeted programs have on helping poor households escape the poverty trap. “Using a randomized controlled trial that tracked these households four, seven and ten years after the intervention, the authors find that ten years later, treated households consume about 20% more than control group households and earn about 30% more,” writes VoxDev.

On Point- WBUR

WBUR On Point host Meghna Chakrabarti speaks with Prof. Amy Glasmeier about defining poverty in the United States. “There is an ‘everybody has to make it on their own’ attitude and until that changes we’re going to be caught in this bind, but I think people themselves are evolving,” says Glasmeier.