Research and Biography

Marci A. Ybarra is an Assistant Professor in the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration. Her research interests include poverty and inequality, social service delivery, work supports, and family well-being. Professor Ybarra 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.

Her research is concerned with the impact of public supports on the well-being of low-income families. She currently investigates three different areas of social policy (welfare reform, child care, and Paid Family Leave) that impact both work and family life with an emphasis on economically disadvantaged families. 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 the impact of different allocations of public provisions (child care subsidies), and specific policies, related to child care on how families make use of the child care subsidy system, the impact on employment patterns, and child care stability 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. Moreover, this area of research also considers the implications of implementing more Paid Family Programs and/or Temporary Disability Insurance (TDI) programs for the well-being of families with children with an emphasis on low-income families.

Professor Ybarra earned her Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) and Master of Social Work (MSW) 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. She has been a Ford Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan.

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