Michalopoulos is MDRC’s chief economist and directs the Youth Employment, Criminal Justice, and Employment Policy Area. He has more than three decades of experience studying a wide variety of social policies to help low-income families achieve better economic, health, and social outcomes. He is currently project director for a study using rapid learning cycles to improve the implementation of responsible fatherhood programs, is co-principal investigator on a national study of employment services for low-income families with a focus on individuals with behavioral health issues, and is leading a national study of home visiting programs for disadvantaged mothers (having recently completed a second national study of these programs that focused on birth outcomes and infant health).
In recent years, he also led studies of the effects of coordinated care programs for high-cost Medicaid recipients in Colorado and New York, studied the effects of telephonic care management for depressed Medicaid recipients in Rhode Island, and was co-principal investigator for the Accelerated Benefits Demonstration, a study of the effects of offering health care coverage to newly uninsured recipients of Social Security Disability Insurance benefits. His other work has included studies of financial work incentives for welfare recipients, child care subsidy policies, and programs that aim to strengthen the marriages of low-income couples. The unifying theme of his research is providing methodological rigor in developing evidence of what works for whom. Prior to joining MDRC in 1997, Michalopoulos earned a doctorate in economics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and was an assistant professor in the Department of Economics at Virginia Tech from 1992 to 1997.
A Summary of Findings from the Strengthening the Implementation of Responsible Fatherhood Programs StudyMay, 2023
This document summarizes what was learned in SIRF (Strengthening the Implementation of Responsible Fatherhood Programs), which engaged 10 programs in using learning cycles—repeated periods of implementing ideas and reflecting on the results—to build evidence on practices to improve the enrollment, engagement, and retention of fathers in fatherhood programs.Report
Final Report on the Strengthening the Implementation of Responsible Fatherhood Programs (SIRF) StudyMay, 2023
This report summarizes activities in a study designed to build evidence on promising strategies to improve enrollment and participation in fatherhood programs. Programs iteratively implemented and assessed such strategies in three areas: outreach, peer mentoring, and coaching.Report
An Introduction to the Strengthening the Implementation of Responsible Fatherhood Programs (SIRF) StudyMarch, 2022
This report summarizes activities in the first two years of the Strengthening the Implementation of Responsible Fatherhood Programs (SIRF) study (2019 to 2021). SIRF aims to identify and test approaches to improving programs’ recruitment, engagement, and retention of fathers using rapid learning cycles.MethodologyNovember, 2019
An earlier post in this series discussed considerations for reporting and interpreting cross-site impact variation and for designing studies to investigate such cross-site variation. This post discusses how those ideas were applied to address two broad questions in the Mother and Infant Home Visiting Program Evaluation.Report
Results from the Mother and Infant Home Visiting Program EvaluationJanuary, 2019
Home visiting provides information, resources, and support to expectant low-income parents and low-income families with young children. This report provides the final results from a national evaluation of four major evidence-based models of home visiting.Brief
A Summary of Results from the MIHOPE and MIHOPE-Strong Start Studies of Evidence-Based Home VisitingJanuary, 2019
Home visiting provides information, resources, and support to expectant low-income parents and low-income families with young children. This brief summarizes reports from two national studies of early childhood home visiting.Report
The Effects of Home Visiting on Prenatal Health, Birth Outcomes, and Health Care Use in the First Year of Life
Final Implementation and Impact Findings from the Mother and Infant Home Visiting Program Evaluation-Strong StartJanuary, 2019
MIHOPE-Strong Start rigorously examined the effects of home visiting services, as provided by 66 local programs in 17 states, on outcomes such as low birth weight, preterm birth, and infant health care use. This final report details those effects as well as the services received by families in the programs.MethodologyOctober, 2018
By combining prior beliefs about a program’s effectiveness with new data to produce a distribution of impacts, Bayesian statistics provides an alternative to classical methods that may be more useful for policymaking. Reflections on Methodology discusses some issues with and applications of this approach.Brief
Laying the Groundwork for Long-Term Follow-Up in the Mother and Infant Home Visiting Program Evaluation (MIHOPE)October, 2017
Home visiting provides information, resources, and support to expectant low-income parents and low-income families with young children. This brief summarizes evidence from existing studies on the impact of early childhood home visiting on children 5 and older for four national models of home visiting.Brief
Which Improves Welfare Recipients’ Earnings More in the Long Term?October, 2016
Findings after 10-15 years from the National Evaluation of Welfare-to-Work Strategies suggest that while initially stressing job search for participants led to greater earnings in the short term than did initially stressing education and training, neither approach produced substantial effects past the five-year follow-up period.Report
Early Findings on the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program — A Report to CongressJanuary, 2015
This report presents the first findings from MIHOPE, the legislatively mandated national evaluation of the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting program. It includes an analysis of the states’ needs assessments, as well as baseline characteristics of families, staff, local programs, and models participating in the study.Report
Final Report on an Evaluation of Six Pilot Coordinated Care Projects for High-Needs Medicaid RecipientsAugust, 2014
This program aimed to improve health care quality and reduce Medicaid costs for high-needs Medicaid recipients in New York by helping them use appropriate care that would reduce hospital admissions and emergency department visits. The program did not appear to reduce Medicaid costs or care from hospitals and emergency departments.Report
Final Impacts from the Supporting Healthy Marriage EvaluationJanuary, 2014
Supporting Healthy Marriage (SHM) was a yearlong voluntary marriage education program to help strengthen couples’ relationships. SHM had small sustained positive effects on marital quality more than a year after the program ended but did not achieve its objectives of leading more couples to stay together or improving children’s well-being.ReportDecember, 2013
MIHOPE-Strong Start, a collaboration of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the Administration for Children and Families, and the Health Resources and Services Administration, assesses the impacts of home visiting programs for disadvantaged expectant mothers. This report describes the study and the programs: Healthy Families America and Nurse-Family Partnership.Report
Managing Health Care for Medicaid Recipients with DisabilitiesMay, 2013
This program aimed to improve the quality of health care while reducing Medicaid costs by helping individuals use appropriate care that would reduce hospital admissions and emergency department visits. Like a similar pilot run by Colorado Access, which is described in a separate report, it had little effect on health care use.Report
Final Report on the Colorado Access Coordinated Care Pilot ProgramApril, 2013
This pilot program aimed to improve the quality of health care while reducing Medicaid costs by helping individuals use appropriate care that would reduce hospital admissions and emergency department visits. The program had little effect on health care use, but the report suggests several ways to improve its design.ReportApril, 2013
Home visiting programs seek to improve maternal and child outcomes by supporting families with young children. The Affordable Care Act of 2010 included $1.5 billion for the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program, with a national evaluation required. This report describes the design of that evaluation.Methodology
A Bayesian Reanalysis of Results from the Enhanced Services for the Hard-to-Employ Demonstration and Evaluation ProjectJune, 2012
Using an alternative to classical statistics, this paper reanalyzes results from three published studies of interventions to increase employment and reduce welfare dependency. The analysis formally incorporates prior beliefs about the interventions, characterizing the results in terms of the distribution of possible effects, and generally confirms the earlier published findings.ReportFebruary, 2012
This paper examines issues related to depression severity in this study of a one-year telephone care management intervention for depressed parents who were Medicaid recipients. The original study found effects on getting treatment during the intervention but no impacts on depression severity.ReportFebruary, 2012
This report, which presents 12-month impact results from a demonstration designed to strengthen marriages among low-income married couples with children, shows that the program produced a consistent pattern of small, positive effects on multiple aspects of couples’ relationships, including measures of relationship quality, psychological and physical abuse, and adult individual psychological distress.Report
Impacts on Health and Employment at Twelve MonthsFebruary, 2011
This demonstration tested the effects of earlier access to health care coverage and related services for new Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) beneficiaries. After one year, the program increased health care use, reduced reported unmet medical needs, and modestly improved health and functioning. It also increased job prep and search activities but did not raise employment levels.Methodology
Strategies for Interpreting and Reporting Intervention Effects on SubgroupsNovember, 2010
This revised paper examines strategies for interpreting and reporting estimates of intervention effects for subgroups of a study sample. Specifically, the paper considers: why and how subgroup findings are important for applied research, the importance of prespecifying subgroups before analyses are conducted, and the importance of using existing theory and prior research to distinguish between subgroups for which study findings are confirmatory, as opposed to exploratory.ReportSeptember, 2010
This report seeks to answer two policy questions: whether providing subsidies to families whose incomes are just over the state’s eligibility limit affects their child care and employment outcomes, and whether extending the length of time before families must reapply for subsidies affects the receipt of subsidies and related outcomes.ReportJune, 2010
This final report of a two-year evaluation is intended to help states determine how to structure child care subsidy programs. Focusing on how much families should be required to contribute when they receive child care subsidies, the study examined the effects of reduced copayments on subsidy use, employment and earnings, and receipt of public assistance.Report
Early Results from a Telephone Care Management Program for Medicaid Recipients with DepressionAugust, 2009
Very early results from a random assignment study suggest that Working toward Wellness increased the use of mental health services and had mixed effects on depression severity. Impacts are concentrated among Hispanic participants.Report
An Update on the Effects of Four Earnings Supplement Programs on Employment, Earnings, and IncomeAugust, 2005
Four programs that supplemented the earnings of low-income adults increased employment, earnings, and income — particularly for the most disadvantaged — but these effects generally faded after the programs ended.Report
Implementation, Effects, and Experiences of Poor Families and NeighborhoodsOctober, 2003
Based on a comprehensive body of evidence, this report from the Project on Devolution and Urban Change examines how changes in Pennsylvania’s welfare reform policies combined with a strong regional economy in the late 1990s to create substantial change in the welfare system in Philadelphia.Working Paper
Evidence from Random Assignment Studies of Welfare and Work ProgramsJune, 2003ReportJuly, 2002
Recognizing that welfare recipients who find jobs may remain poor, the “make work pay” approach rewards those who work by boosting their income. This strategy was the centerpiece of the Self-Sufficiency Project (SSP), a large-scale demonstration program in Canada that offered monthly earnings supplements to single parents who left welfare for full-time work.Report
Final Report on Connecticut’s Welfare Reform InitiativeFebruary, 2002Report
Five-Year Adult and Child Impacts for Eleven ProgramsDecember, 2001
How best to help people move from welfare to work — particularly whether an employment-focused approach or an education-focused approach is more effective — has been a subject of long-standing debate. This report summary, which describes the long-term effects of 11 different mandatory welfare-to-work programs for single parents and their children, takes a major step toward resolving this debate.Report
Interim Findings from the Self-Sufficiency Project’s Applicant StudyNovember, 2001Working Paper
New Experimental Evidence on Financial Work Incentives and Pre-Employment ServicesJuly, 2001Report
A Synthesis of ResearchMay, 2001Report
The Urban Change Project and Methodological ConsiderationsNovember, 2000Report
Impacts of 20 Welfare-to-Work Programs by SubgroupAugust, 2000Report
Key Findings from the Forty-Two-Month Client SurveyJune, 2000Report
Forty-Two Month Impacts of Vermont’s Welfare Restructuring ProjectSeptember, 1999Report
The Effect of Adding Services to the Self-Sufficiency Project’s Financial IncentivesMay, 1999Report
Early Findings from the Self-Sufficiency Project’s Applicant StudyMay, 1999
ProjectsDina A. R. Israel, Michelle S. Manno, Charles Michalopoulos, Rebecca Behrmann, Meghan McCormick, Patrizia Mancini, Viktoriya Syrov, Xavier Alemañy, Diego Quezada, Emily Marano
The Testing Identified Elements for Success in Fatherhood Programs (Fatherhood TIES) project hopes to answer the question: What are the elements of fatherhood programs that lead to better outcomes for the fathers who take part in them?
Fatherhood programs are designed to help fathers connect with their children, improve fathers’...Dina A. R. Israel, Xavier Alemañy, Rebecca Behrmann, Emily Brennan, Virginia Knox, Michelle S. Manno, Emily Marano, Meghan McCormick, Charles Michalopoulos, Frieda Molina, Diego Quezada, Keri West, Samantha Wulfsohn, Donna Wharton-Fields
Over the last three decades, MDRC has established itself as a leader in providing technical assistance to organizations that deliver services to fathers through such projects as Parents’ Fair Share,...Charles Michalopoulos, Dina A. R. Israel, Michelle S. Manno, Emily Brennan, Emily Marano, Donna Wharton-Fields, Erika Lundquist, Rebecca Behrmann, Kureem Nugent, Yana Kusayeva, Diego Quezada
Since 2006, Responsible Fatherhood programs across the country have received federal funding administered by the Administration for Children and Families, Office of Family Assistance within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. These programs aim to promote positive father-child interactions, improve parents’ relationship with each...Megan Millenky, Dan Bloom, Susan Scrivener, Charles Michalopoulos, Dina A. R. Israel, Johanna Walter, Lauren Cates, Sally Dai, Caroline Mage, Emily Marano, Viktoriya Syrov, Douglas Phillips, Kyla Wasserman, Lily Freedman, Osvaldo Avila, Emily Brennan, Jillian Verrillo, Gilda Azurdia, Frieda Molina, Shelley Rappaport, Clinton Key, Nandita Verma, Cynthia Miller, Jared Smith, Shawna Anderson, Kelsey Schaberg, Caitlin Anzelone, James A. Riccio, Keri West, Caroline Schultz, Ethan Feldman
Many Americans struggle in the labor market even when overall economic conditions are good. Unemployment is persistently high for some demographic groups and in certain geographic areas, and a large proportion of...Charles Michalopoulos, Kristen Faucetta , Megan Millenky, Ximena Portilla, Marie-Andrée Somers, Livia Martinez
A small body of research has found that families who participated in a home visiting program when their children were young may continue to benefit through their children’s adolescence. Therefore, a long-term follow-up study is being planned for families in the Mother and...
Current practice for ensuring that impact evaluations in education have adequate statistical power does not take the use of multiplicity adjustments into account. Multiplicity adjustments to p-values protect against spurious statistically significant findings when there are multiple statistical tests (for example, due to multiple outcomes, subgroups, or time points),...Dina A. R. Israel, Michelle S. Manno, Dan Bloom, JoAnn Hsueh, Charles Michalopoulos, Virginia Knox, Erika Lundquist, Electra Small, Rebecca Behrmann, Samantha Wulfsohn, Douglas Phillips, Patrizia Mancini, Emily Brennan, Jillian Verrillo, Bret Barden, Kureem Nugent
Fathers play a unique role in their children’s lives and development, but some fathers face personal or societal barriers to positive involvement with their children — such as low levels of education, stigma from criminal records, declining wages for low-skilled men, or family instability. Responsible Fatherhood programs aim to improve the well-being of low-income...Virginia Knox, Charles Michalopoulos, JoAnn Hsueh, Desiree Principe Alderson, Dina A. R. Israel, Erika Lundquist, Electra Small, Rebecca Behrmann, Anne Warren, Samantha Xia, Kelly Saunders, Ilana Blum, Jessica Kopsic, Noemi Altman, Caroline Mage, Helen Lee
Adverse birth outcomes result in significant emotional and economic costs for families and communities. One promising avenue for helping expectant women is home visiting programs, which work with parents to promote prenatal care and improve infant health. The Mother and Infant Home Visiting Program Evaluation-Strong Start (MIHOPE-Strong Start...Virginia Knox, Charles Michalopoulos, JoAnn Hsueh, Desiree Principe Alderson, Dina A. R. Israel, Erika Lundquist, Electra Small, Carolyn Hill, Rebecca Behrmann, Ximena Portilla, Anne Warren, Samantha Xia, Kelly Saunders, Ilana Blum, Mallory Undestad, Emily Davies, Cullen MacDowell, Marissa Strassberger, Sharon Rowser, Livia Martinez, Helen Lee
Home visiting programs operate around the country to prevent child maltreatment, improve maternal and child health outcomes, and increase school readiness. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 authorized the creation of the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program, expanding federal funding of home...
Beginning in the 1990s, the “Make Work Pay” experiments tested whether offering earnings supplements would increase employment and income and improve family well-being among welfare recipients. The experiments responded to a fundamental challenge: Low-wage jobs often leave families only barely better off financially than even subsistence-level welfare benefits. As a...
The Accelerated Benefits Demonstration tested whether making medical benefits immediately available to new Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) beneficiaries would improve their health and increase the likelihood they would return to work. SSDI pays cash benefits to eligible workers who are disabled. Financed...
Despite skyrocketing health care spending, many people in the United States do not receive the health care they need. In addition to the tens of millions of Americans who lack health insurance, those with insurance often get inadequate care because the fractured American health care system makes it difficult for individuals to make appropriate health care choices. Lack...Virginia Knox, Charles Michalopoulos, Electra Small, Evan Weissman, Erika Lundquist, Sharon Rowser
Home visiting has grown in recent decades as a strategy for providing preventive services to families with young children. Federal, state, local, and private funders have supported programs operating in thousands of communities around the country. Several programs are widely disseminated in the United States, with different programs focusing on slightly different...
Obesity is associated with poor health and high health care costs and has been increasing in the United States for several decades. It has also been linked to such health conditions as diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, strokes, cancer, sleep disorders, and musculoskeletal pain and disability. Thus, efforts to encourage weight loss can improve health, reduce health...Dan Bloom, Lauren Cates, JoAnn Hsueh, Dina A. R. Israel, Charles Michalopoulos, Johanna Walter, Sally Dai, Ximena Portilla
Fueled by a strong economy and passage of the 1996 federal welfare law, which imposed new work requirements and time limits on cash benefits, welfare caseloads declined precipitously during the 1990s. Between 1993 and 2000, the number of families on welfare dropped 56 percent nationally, with individual states experiencing reductions ranging from 20 percent to more...
Investments in child care by the federal government and individual states grew substantially in the years after passage of the 1996 federal welfare reform law, increasing from $3.6 billion in 1996 to $11.4 billion in 2005. As a result, many more low-income families with working parents were able to receive help in paying for child care. Yet the effectiveness of...
At the time this project began, a third of all babies in the United States were born to unmarried mothers, and the fraction was even higher among low-income families. Although many children of unwed couples flourish, research has shown that, on average, they are at higher risk of living in poverty and of developing social, behavioral, and academic problems than are...JoAnn Hsueh, Virginia Knox, Desiree Principe Alderson, Barbara S. Goldman, Erika Lundquist, Charles Michalopoulos, Electra Small, Kristen Faucetta , Meghan McCormick, Noemi Altman, Sharon Rowser, Amy Taub, Helen Lee
The Supporting Healthy Marriage project is the first large-scale, multisite, multiyear, rigorous test of marriage education programs for low-income married couples. Supported by the Administration for Children and Families within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the project is motivated...