USC Price School of Public Policy

Event Details

Social Innovation in Johnson’s War on Poverty

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Description: The US domestic social programs of the Lyndon Johnson administration were notable for a degree of friendliness to experimentation and mandates for democratic participation. Though the popular history of the War on Poverty often focuses on failed and underresourced programs, a growing body of historical microeconomic research finds that many of these programs had large and positive effects on participants over the long run. This talk will provide an overview of the institutional history and political economy of the War on Poverty (with particular emphasis on the Community Action Program); survey the literature on long-run treatments effects of these programs; and explore how social innovators today can learn from the War on Poverty's successes (and failures) in crafting anti-poverty strategies today.


Bio: Nicolas Duquette is an Assistant Professor at the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy. Duquette’s research uses the tools of economics, politics and history to trace the development and behavior of nonprofit organizations, and he teaches courses in nonprofit management informed by an interdisciplinary perspective. He is currently researching the adaptations of charities to changes in government grants and tax subsidies, with particular focus on the changes brought by the Johnson-era War on Poverty. Duquette and colleague Martha Bailey won the Arthur Cole Prize for the best article in the Journal of Economic History for 2013-2014, for their paper, “How Johnson fought the War on Poverty: The Economics and Politics of Funding at the Office of Economic Opportunity.”