H. Luke Shaefer
H. Luke Shaefer, Ph.D., is the Hermann and Amalie Kohn Professor of Social Justice and Social Policy, a professor of social work, and the inaugural director of Poverty Solutions, an interdisciplinary, presidential initiative that partners with communities and policymakers to find new ways to prevent and alleviate poverty. Through Poverty Solutions, Shaefer acted as a special counselor on anti-poverty policy to the director of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services from 2019-2021.
Shaefer’s research on poverty and social welfare policy in the United States has been published in top peer-reviewed academic journals in the fields of public policy, social work, public health, health services research, and history, and his work has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and U.S. Census Bureau among other sources. He has presented his research at the White House and before numerous federal agencies, has testified before the U.S. Senate Finance Committee, and has advised a number of the nation’s largest human service providers.
His work has been cited in media outlets such as the New York Times, Washington Post, The Economist, and The Atlantic, and he has been featured on such programs as PBS NewsHour, Marketplace, 1A, The World, and CNBC’s Nightly Business Report. His book with Kathryn Edin, $2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America, was named one of the 100 Notable Books of 2015 by the New York Times Book Review, and won the Hillman Prize for Book Journalism among other awards. Shaefer and Edin along with Timothy Nelson co-authored another book released in August 2023, The Injustice of Place. Shaefer also was awarded an Andrew Carnegie Fellowship.
Shaefer received his B.A. in politics from Oberlin College and A.M. and Ph.D. from the University of Chicago, School of Social Service Administration.