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War on Poverty Expert to Speak

Published: March 1, 2015

Kathleen McGarry, a professor and chair of the Department of Economics at UCLA, will visit CSULB on Tuesday, March 10, to give a lecture titled “50 Years of the War on Poverty: What it Meant for the Elderly.” The lecture is scheduled for 4 p.m. in the Beach Auditorium in the University Student Union and will be followed by a question-and-answer session and a reception.

“The Rho Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa and CSULB in general are very excited about Dr. McGarry’s upcoming visit and talk,” said Steve Yamarik, a professor of economics at CSULB and President of the Rho Chapter. “She is a leading expert on the economic well-being of the elderly and the role played by public policy on these outcomes.”

The lecture will focus on the impact of various social insurance programs like Medicare and Medicaid on the decline in elderly poverty rates.

On Jan. 8, 1964 when then-President Lyndon B. Johnson announced his War on Poverty, the poverty rate for the elderly was approximately 35 percent. In the 50 years since, the poverty rate for the elderly has fallen to 10 percent, below that of any other age group and less than one-half of that for children.

McGarry’s research focuses on the well-being of the elderly with particular attention paid to public and private transfers, including the Medicare and SSI programs and the transfer of resources within families.

Her research combines work on the financial aspects of aging with issues related to health economics to examine insurance coverage among the elderly. She has studied the long-term care, health and life insurance markets, as well as the role played by families in providing insurance for their less well-off members. McGarry’s current work analyzes the importance of end-of-life medical expenses, particularly expenses associated with nursing homes and home health care, and differences in spending by disability status.

McGarry has authored more than 30 academic publications in many of the leading economics peer-reviewed journals. The recipient of numerous distinguished teaching awards, she was the Joel Z. and Susan Hyatt Professor of Economics at Dartmouth College from 2007-09 and a senior economist at the White House Council of Economic Advisers from 2000-01.

Kathleen McGarry

In addition to her March 10 lecture, McGarry will be at CSULB from March 9-11 as a Visiting Scholar of Phi Beta Kappa. During that time, she will participate in undergraduate courses in the departments of economics, political science and family and consumer sciences, and gerontology. She will also take part in a political science colloquium on Wednesday, March 11, at noon. In addition, she will be have lunch with undergraduate students who are interested in graduate work at UCLA in general and in economics in particular.

The event is being hosted by the departments of economics, political science and family and consumer sciences, gerontology and the Rho Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa.

For additional information, contact Yamarik by e-mail or call 562/985-4634.

–Shayne Schroeder