Ron Haskins

Ron Haskins, a developmental psychologist, is a senior fellow and co-director of the Center on Children and Families at the Brookings Institution.

Recent Articles

Using Carrots and Sticks

In the last decade, we have seen that an effective approach to reducing poverty requires changes in personal behavior as well as government support. Further, we have learned that by judiciously applying policies that demand and then reward good behavior -- what might be called carrots-and-sticks policies -- we can induce and maintain the behavior that leads to reduced poverty. Reviewing the record of the past decade suggests the principles that should guide future efforts. During the 1960s, child poverty fell by more than half, to 14 percent. In the subsequent three decades, however, child poverty drifted upward in an uneven pattern, never again reaching the low level achieved in 1969. This is a surprising and discouraging record. A major cause of the huge decline in poverty of the 1960s was an economy that grew 35 percent in per capita gross domestic product, giving rise to President Kennedy's famous observation that "a rising tide lifts all boats." Although the American economy has...