The Wilson Sheehan Lab for Economic Opportunities, housed in the department of Economics at the University of Notre Dame, has the potential to have transformational impact on the field of anti-poverty research. LEO brings together leading academic experts and social service providers to work directly on designing, implementing, and evaluating the effectiveness of domestic anti-poverty initiatives.
LEO’s flagship partner is the Catholic Charities network, one of the largest networks of faith-based social services providers in the country, whose agencies assisted nearly one in four of all Americans living in poverty last year. This partnership marks the first time an academic institution has partnered with a major social service provider to measure and examine the effectiveness and scalability of innovative anti-poverty programs, like the ones being run by Catholic Charities agencies across the country.
By facilitating the exchange of ideas between researchers, practitioners, and policy makers, LEO will fill a major gap in the existing social science literature, provide proven results to use as a national model, and directly impact and improve the design of public policy to more effectively reduce poverty and promote self-sufficiency.