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Report: Extending child tax credit program offers many benefits for struggling families

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Extending the child tax credit program beyond 2021 could promote financial stability among vulnerable low- and moderate-income families and have many other long-term economic and noneconomic benefits, according to a new report by a team of researchers affiliated with the Project for Middle Class Renewal at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

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Measuring financial and digital literacy in vulnerable populations

URBANA, Ill. – Financial inclusion is key to improving economic and social welfare, reducing inequality, and promoting economic growth. Globally, 1.7 billion people have limited access to financial services, especially in the developing world. As governments and NGOs work to strengthen financial resilience, digital technology has become a crucial component.

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Soybean futures held early warning for COVID-related economic collapse

URBANA, Ill. – Global financial markets collapsed in March 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic spread across the world. But weeks earlier, soybean futures had already started providing an early warning sign of troubles ahead. Soybean futures were “the canary in the coal mine,” according to a team of agricultural economists from the University of Illinois, who studied soybean, corn, and wheat market trading in early 2020.

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Fintech can promote financial inclusion in emerging economies

URBANA, Ill. – Financial technologies – fintech – are rapidly expanding and providing easier access to financial services worldwide. The COVID-19 pandemic has further accelerated the need for contactless transactions.

A new study from the University of Illinois evaluates fintech systems in 16 emerging markets. The researchers conclude digital technologies overall provide greater access to financial services, but some barriers to usage remain for vulnerable populations.

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Parental income has long-term consequences for children’s health

URBANA, Ill. – A family’s socioeconomic status affects children’s health long into adulthood. Individuals growing up in low-income families have much higher risk of obesity and obesity-related diseases later in life. That’s especially true for permanent low-income families, a University of Illinois study shows.

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Study proposes new ways to estimate climate change impacts on agriculture

URBANA, Ill. ­– Most scientists agree climate change has a profound impact on U.S. agricultural production. But estimates vary widely, making it hard to develop mitigation strategies. Two agricultural economists at the University of Illinois take a closer look at how choice of statistical methodology influences climate study results. They also propose a more accurate and place-specific approach to data analysis.

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Major revamp of SNAP could eliminate food insecurity in the US

URBANA, Ill. – Food insecurity is a major problem in the U.S., and it worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) provides some relief, but millions of Americans still lack adequate access to healthy food. A new study from the University of Illinois proposes a potential solution.

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High unemployment rates contribute to rise in anti-democratic extremism

URBANA, Ill. ­– The United States has experienced a dramatic increase in anti-democratic extremist groups in recent decades, culminating with the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. Adverse economic conditions and high unemployment rates fueled the proliferation of extremism, according to a study from University of Illinois

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Syrian refugees in Lebanon need targeted efforts to rebuild their lives

URBANA, Ill.  – The number of people fleeing violence, poverty and conflict is skyrocketing worldwide and refugees often become permanently displaced. Syria’s decade-long civil war has caused millions of people to flee the country, with many settling in neighboring Lebanon. 

Governments and humanitarian organizations provide aid to the refugees, but contributions from donor countries have failed to meet rising needs in recent years. That makes it even more important to know where aid can be most effective.

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Soy kits provide earning power for women entrepreneurs in Malawi

URBANA, Ill. – Women’s ability to work as entrepreneurs can help alleviate poverty and malnutrition in developing countries. As local governments and development organizations aim to encourage business opportunities, it’s important to identify projects suited for women’s lives in rural households.

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