Hilary Hoynes

Research Expertise and Interest

poverty, inequality, economic policy, Social Safety Net, labor economics, public economics, Food Insecurity, COVID-19

Research Description

Hilary Hoynes is Professor of Economics and Public Policy and holds the Haas Distinguished Chair of Economics Disparities at UC Berkeley. She also directs the Berkeley Opportunity Lab. She is an economist who works on poverty, inequality, and the social safety net. Her current research examines how access to the social safety net in early life affects children’s later life health and human capital outcomes. Professor Hoynes is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Art and Sciences, the National Academy of Social Insurance, and a Fellow of the Society of Labor Economists. She has served as Co-Editor of the American Economic Review and the American Economic Journal: Economic Policy. She is currently a Vice President of the American Economic Association, a member of the National Academy of Sciences Committee on National Statistics and serves on California Governor Gavin Newsom’s Council of Economic Advisors. Previously, she served on the National Academy of Sciences Committee on Building an Agenda to Reduce the Number of Children in Poverty by Half in 10 Years, the State of California Task Force on Lifting Children and Families out of Poverty and the Federal Commission on Evidence-Based Policy Making. In 2014, she received the Carolyn Shaw Bell Award from the Committee on the Status of the Economics Profession of the American Economic Association.  Dr. Hoynes received her PhD in Economics from Stanford University in 1992 and her undergraduate degree in Economics and Mathematics from Colby College in 1983.

In the News

Berkeley Talks: The Social Safety Net as an Investment in Children

In Berkeley Talks episode 157, Hilary Hoynes, a UC Berkeley professor of economics and of public policy, and Haas Distinguished Chair in Economic Disparities, discusses the emerging research that examines how the social safety net in the United States — a collection of public programs that delivers aid to low-income populations — affects children’s life trajectories.

COVID-19 shows fraying U.S. safety net, Berkeley scholars say

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to unprecedented levels of unemployment and economic uncertainty, and despite strong government efforts to address human needs, continued support and bold policy are essential for the months ahead, top scholars said during a recent event at UC Berkeley.

COVID-19: Economic impact, human solutions

The COVID-19 pandemic is confronting every level of the U.S. economy with an unprecedented challenge, and the government must mount a sustained, ambitious economic response lasting months and perhaps years, UC Berkeley economists said in an online forum today.

Economic fix: Deliver aid to as many as possible — fast

Congress and President Donald Trump have approved a gargantuan $2 trillion stimulus package to protect businesses, workers and the economy, but UC Berkeley economist Hilary Hoynes says the next step may be more difficult: administering the relief programs so that government funds get to vulnerable Americans as fast as possible.

Featured in the Media

Please note: The views and opinions expressed in these articles are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or positions of UC Berkeley.
October 5, 2020
Bay City News Service
Three University of California, Berkeley professors will lead the work to create new datasets to better understand poverty and mobility with the help of a $2 million grant. "By constructing these datasets and making them available to a wide array of researchers, we will unlock a generation's worth of new policy research," said professor Jesse Rothstein, co-lead researcher on the project, in a statement. Also leading the project are professors Hilary Hoynes and Steven Raphael. Researchers throughout the University of California system and others will take part in the work.
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June 25, 2020
Eduardo Porter
Can the unprecedented economic downturn of the pandemic also be a moment that could produce lasting change? The triple crises of pandemic, depression and civil unrest may open political space for bold action. Scholars suggest creating a more generous safety net on a permanent basis. The safety net was less effective in the Great Recession than during the recession of the early 1980s in protecting those at half the poverty line or less, according to an analysis by UC Berkeley professor of public policy and economics Hilary Hoynes, and Marianne Bitler of the University of California, Davis.
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