Profile picture for user bailey.martha

Martha J. Bailey

Professor of Economics, University of California-Los Angeles

About Martha

Bailey’s research focuses on issues in labor economics, demography, and health in the United States, within the long-run perspective of economic history. Her expertise is in gender and demographic issues and policies and programs begun in the United States in the 1960s.


The Accomplishments and Lessons of the War on Poverty

  • Sheldon Danziger

In the News

Research discussed by The New York Times Editorial Board, in "The Trump Administration's Backward Attitude toward Birth Control," The New York Times, March 8, 2018.
Quoted by Jillian Goodman in "Watch These People in 2018," Bloomberg Businessweek, December 1, 2017.
Quoted by Kate Hakala in "7 Amazing Things Birth Control Does That Have Nothing to Do with Sex," Mic, June 5, 2015.
Research discussed by Gregor Aisch, Amanda Cox, and Kevin Quealy, in "Gauging Income and College Prospects: How Our Readers Did," New York Times, June 2, 2015.
Quoted by Allana Akhtar and Rachel Premack in "Evaluating the Gender Gap," Michigan Daily, February 17, 2015.
Guest on NPR's Morning Edition, January 9, 2014.
Research discussed by Shawn Fremstad, in "The War on Poverty: Not Just a Liberal Campaign," PBS NewsHour, January 9, 2014.
Opinion: "Re-Learning the Lessons of the War on Poverty," Martha J. Bailey, Huffington Post, January 8, 2014.
Research discussed by Jonathan Cohn, in "LBJ’s Mistake Was Promising to “Win” the War on Poverty," The New Republic, January 8, 2014.
Research discussed by Mike Konczal, in "The War on Poverty Turns 50: Three Lessons for Liberals Today," The New Republic, January 7, 2014.
Opinion: "Why We Need Another War on Poverty," Martha J. Bailey, New York Times, January 5, 2014.
Research discussed by Greg Kaufmann, in "This Week in Poverty: New Data, Same Story (and Same Dangerous House Republicans)," The Nation, September 20, 2013.
Research discussed by Marina Adshade, in "Family Planning Programs Have Effectively Reduced Child Poverty," Big Think, May 22, 2012.
Research discussed by Dino Grandoni, in "Women Who Took the Pill Had a 8 Percent Higher Income by Age 50," Yahoo News, March 6, 2012.
Research discussed by Sarah Kliff, in "How Birth Control Boosts Women’s Salaries," The Washington Post, March 6, 2012.
Research discussed by Sabrina Tavernise, in "Education Gap Grows between Rich and Poor, Studies Say," New York Times, February 9, 2012.
Research discussed by Caralee Adams, in "Income and Gender Gap in College Attainment Widens," Education Week, December 6, 2011.
Research discussed by Elizabeth Murphy, in "The ‘Boy Problem’ Examined," Inside Higher Ed, December 6, 2011.
Research discussed by Tami Luhby, in "College Graduation Rates: Income Really Matters," CNN Money, November 23, 2011.
Quoted by in "The Poor, the Near Poor, and You," New York Times, November 23, 2011.
Research discussed by Sabrina Tavernise, in "Middle-Class Areas Shrink as Income Gap Grows, New Report Finds," New York Times, November 15, 2011.
Research discussed by Nancy Folbre, in "Sex and the Stimulus," New York Times, February 5, 2009.


"Reexamining the Impact of Family Planning Programs on U.S. Fertility: Evidence from the War on Poverty and the Early Year of Title X," National Bureau of Economic Research, August 1, 2011.

Reevaluates the short and long-term effects of U.S. family planning programs on U.S. fertility rates. Finds that the introduction of family planning is associated with significant and persistent reductions in fertility driven both by falling completed childbearing and childbearing delay. Implies that federally-funded family planning reduced childbearing among poor women by 21 to 29 percent.

"Fifty Years of U.S. Family Planning: Evidence on the Long-Run Effects of Increasing Access to Contraception," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, 2013.
Examines how changes in policies restricting access to and subsidizing the Pill affected the next generation’s economic success.
"The War on Poverty’s Experiment in Public Medicine: The Impact of Community Health Centers on the Mortality of Older Americans," (with Andrew Goodman-Bacon), National Bureau of Economic Research, 2014.
Documents how the Community Health Center program reduced mortality rates among those 50 and older.
Legacies of the War on Poverty (edited with Sheldon Danziger) (Russell Sage Foundation, 2013).
Challenges the conventional wisdom that the War on Poverty was a failure by documenting many of its underappreciated successes.
"The Opt-In Revolution: Contraception, Fertility Timing and the Gender Gap in Wages" (with Brad J. Hershbein and Amalia Miller). American Economic Journal: Applied Economics 4, no. 3 (2012): 225-254.
Documents how access to oral contraception for young adult women in the 1960s and 1970s led to long-run increases in their wages and a reduction in the gender gap in earnings.
"Inequality in Postsecondary Education" (with Susan Dynarski), in Whither Opportunity? Rising Inequality, Schools, and Children’s Life Chances, edited by G.J. Duncan and R.J. Murnane (Russell Sage, 2011), 117-132.
Finds that children from low income families increasingly lag behind children from more affluent households in terms of college entry and college graduation.