Jeffrey B. Wenger
Associate Professor of Public Policy in the Department of Public Administration & Policy, University of Georgia
Expertise & Civic Involvements
Wenger conducts research on the role of social policy in the U.S. labor market. He focuses his academic research on two areas: 1) unemployment insurance and 2) retirement savings and investments. Wenger’s unemployment insurance research investigates whether unemployment insurance finances alter benefit generosity, and the effect of the bureaucracy on benefit receipt. He has consulted with a number of state-level departments of labor, the Joint Economic Committee of Congress, the House Ways and Means committee, and the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committee on unemployment insurance policy.
"When Claimant Characteristics and Prior Performance Predict Bureaucratic Error" (with ). The American Review of Public Administration (forthcoming). Examines the role of race, sex, and age on the administration of the unemployment insurance program.
"Easy Money or Hard Times? Health and 401(k) Loans" (with ). Contemporary Economic Policy 30, no. 1 (2012): 29-42. Examines the conditions leading to loans against retirement savings.
"Trading Speed for Accuracy? Managing Goal Conflict and Accommodation in the U.S. Unemployment Insurance Program" (with ). Policy Studies Journal 36, no. 2 (2008): 175-198. Investigates tradeoffs in Unemployment Insurance administration between speed of claims processing and errors.
"Why Triggers Fail (and What to Do about It): An Analysis of the Unemployment Insurance Extended Benefit Program" (with ). Journal of Policy Analysis and Management 25, no. 3 (2006): 553-576. Analyzes the role of automatic benefit extensions for Unemployment Insurance and proposes a fix for the current malfunctioning system.
"In the Policy Nexus: Unemployment Insurance Eligibility before and after Welfare Reform" (with ). Journal of Poverty 10, no. 3 (2006): 1-24. Evaluates whether former welfare recipients earn enough to qualify for unemployment insurance.
"Asynchronous Risk: Equity, Labor Markets and Retirement Savings" (with ). Journal of Pension Economics and Finance 5, no. 3 (2006): 237-255. Investigates the effect investment timing when unemployment and equities returns are inter-related.
- "Automatic for the People," New York Times, July 9, 2010.
- "Taking the Brunt of a Souring Job Market," The Takeaway, Public Radio International and WNYC, December 4, 2008.
- "Our System to Aid Unemployed Needs Fixing," San Diego Union-Tribune, December 27, 2002.
- "Unemployment Benefits," The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, November 28, 2002.
- "Unemployment Insurance Systems Could Falter as Joblessness Spreads," Houston Chronicle, November 3, 2001.
Talks and Briefings
- "Improving Low-income Workers’ Access to UI," Georgetown University, Washington DC, February 24, 2012.
- "Snake Oil: Desert and Deservingness in Making American Social Policy," Texas A&M University, College Station TX, January 27, 2012.
- "If You Build It: State UI Trust Funds and Benefit Generosity," University of Kentucky, Martin School, Lexington, KY, April 15, 2011.
- "Self-reported and Proxy-reported Wages in the Current Population Survey: Trends and Decompositions, 1979-2005," Upjohn Institute, Kalamazoo, MI, May 21, 2007.
- "Immigration: Economic Impact on American Workers and their Wages," U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on Education and the Workforce, Field Hearing, Gainesville, GA, August 14, 2006.
- "The Graying of America: Effects on Labor-Force Participation," Third Annual Invitational Journalism-Work/Family Conference, Boston, MA, May 20, 2004.
- "Retiree Health Insurance: Cross-sectional and Time-series Evidence," Sloan Conference on Retirement Security, Notre Dame, IN, December 8, 2003.
- "Unemployment Insurance: Who Gets It? Who Pays for It? What's Next?," Conference sponsored by National Academy of Social Insurance, Washington, DC, May 3, 2002.