Pandemic unemployment insurance is expiring soon. This economist has a fix for it.

SP2 assistant professor Ioana Marinescu, PhD, has a bold idea for reforming Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC): converting it into a basic income-type program for people who have lost their jobs.  The UPenn economist is an expert on the economics of cash transfer programs and particularly on the question of whether people will stop working if they get cash with no strings attached.

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What is universal basic income?

Many believe a universal basic income could bring economic security for everyone amid the coronavirus pandemic — and beyond. How exactly does it work? Experts including Ioana Marinescu, assistant professor of economics at the University of Pennsylvania, explain UBI in this video.

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What California Has Done Right in Battling COVID-19

California, the first state to issue stay-at-home orders to reduce the spread of COVID-19, is now mulling a framework for getting people back to their jobs and lives.

“It’s still too early to know with certainty the effectiveness of various public health and healthcare measures on infection and death rates by state,” said Jennifer Prah Ruger, PhD, a professor of health equity, economics, and policy as well as the founder of the Health Equity and Policy Lab (HEPL) at the University of Pennsylvania.

“But early information suggests that California has acted quickly, early, and proactively [while] Washington acted quickly with social distancing measures,” she told Healthline.

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NBC Miami

Does COVID-19 Discriminate? Experts Discuss Pandemic’s Effect on Minority Groups

“If America is literally in a war with coronavirus, let’s just be honest and say that the African-American community, as well as our Hispanic community, has been ambushed,” said Kevin Jenkins, PhD, of the Center for Health Equity Research and Promotion (CHERP) at the Corporal Crescenz VA Medical Center in Philadelphia.

As data about COVID-19 victims continues to emerge across the world, NBC sat down with a panel of experts including Kevin Jenkins, a former postdoc and current lecturer in SP2’s MSSP program, to discuss the pandemic’s effect on minority groups.

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U.S. Jobless Claims Top 30 Million in Six Weeks as Coronavirus Rocks Economy

U.S. jobless claims have topped 30 million over the last six weeks, new data released by the Department of Labor has revealed.

Ioana Marinescu, an associate professor of economics at the University of Pennsylvania, told Newsweek: “These high numbers are the sign of an unemployment rate that we haven’t seen since the Great Depression: the Congressional Budget Office predicts 16 percent unemployment in the coming months.

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What’s In It For You? $1,200 Checks, 13 Weeks Of Unemployment Payments And More

First-time jobless claims hit nearly 3.3 million last week, the Labor Department reported Thursday. That’s staggering when you consider that at the height of the Great Recession, initial claims topped out at just shy of 700,000.

The legislation that the Senate passed Wednesday night is set to provide $2 trillion in economic aid as the nation braces for this massive economic blow.

“We’re living in an emergency situation. In an ideal world, we would have time to create adjusted cost-of-living amounts for everywhere in the country based on pretty specific data as to what it costs to raise what type of children, you know, which number of children and which state,” said Amy Castro Baker, an assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania who studies basic-income programs. “We don’t have that kind of time. People are losing their houses yesterday.”

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New Republic

Can $500 a Month Change Your Life?

So far, economists have spent little time examining what, exactly, people spend money on when they get regular infusions of cash. But Alaska, which distributes a dividend from its oil revenues to all residents each year, offers a glimpse.  A study found that when the money comes in every October, consumption on smaller items—things like clothes and restaurants—goes up, but not necessarily on big investments like cars and houses.

That seems to indicate, explained Ioana Marinescu, a University of Pennsylvania economist who has studied basic income, that “when people receive additional cash they spend quite a bit of it quite fast and on daily expenses.”

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How prepping for pandemics can lead to big economic returns

In a piece for CNN, Jennifer Prah Ruger, Amartya Sen Professor of Health Equity, Economics and Policy and Founder and Director of the Health Equity and Policy Lab (HEPL) at the University of Pennsylvania, discusses how prepping for a pandemic could lead to economic returns.

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Penn Today

COVID-19 and the Housing Crisis

Amy Castro Baker has been in the news lately. As an assistant professor in the School of Social Policy & Practice, her research areas—the housing market and universal basic income—have come front and center as government grapples with the economic reverberations of the COVID-19 pandemic. Unemployment rates are up 13%, as people working in the service and hospitality industries have been laid off and those working in the gig economy struggle for their next bookings. “This public health crisis,” says Castro Baker, is “exposing the fractures that have been in our economy and our community since the housing crisis in 2008. It’s really pulling back the curtain on the fact that we’ve been a house of cards for a really long time.”

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SP2 News

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Philanthropy Class Provides $55K in Grants to Local Nonprofits Amid COVID-19 Crisis

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