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Economic Justice, Basic Income, and Welfare

Work within the Economic Justice, Basic Income and Welfare Division incorporates a broad range of topics related to economic, income and welfare issues. These include policy-related interests centered around the concept of basic income and strategies to engender qualitative social change; economic or distributive justice having to do with individual preferences for income allocations across people; whether and how changes in national politics and policy influence the distribution of income in America; and comparative policies promoting economic justice across workers, both nationally and across industrialized nations.


Harry F. Dahms

Harry Dahms’ social and economic policy-related interests are centered around the concept of basic income and the history of related debates, with an emphasis on conceiving of strategies to engender qualitative social change.

Recent Publications

  • “Barriers and Conduits to Social Justice —Universities in the Twenty-First Century” (co-authored with Eric R. Lybeck), Social Justice and the University:  Globalization, Human Rights, and the Future of Democracy; edited by Jon Shefner, Harry F. Dahms, Robert Jones and Asafa Jalata (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014).
  • “Civil Society and the State in the Neoliberal Era:  Dynamics of Friends and Enemies” (with Jon Shefner), in Harry F. Dahms (ed.), Theorizing Modern Society as a Dynamic Process (Current Perspectives in Social Theory, 30) 2012: 235-62.
  • Dahms, Harry F. “Theorizing Europe as the Future of Modern Society: European Integration between Thick Norms and Thin Politics,” Comparative Sociology 11 (5) 2012.
  • Dahms, Harry F. “Capitalism Unbound? Promise and Peril of Basic Income.” Basic Income Studies 1 (1) 2006.
  • Dahms, Harry F. “Globalization or Hyper-Alienation? Critiques of Traditional Marxism as Arguments for Basic Income.” Social Theory as Politics in Knowledge (Current Perspectives in Social Theory) 23 2005: 205-76.

Jon Garthoff

Jon Garthoff works primarily in moral and political philosophy, and is especially interested in what the Kantian tradition contributes to these areas of thought. More specifically he is interested in how a theory of moral obligation can cohere with a plausible theory of value and in how the pursuit of this project helps to solve problems in the theories of justice and legitimacy.

Recent Publications

  • Garthoff, Jon. “The Embodiment Thesis,” Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 7:1, 2004.
  • Garthoff, Jon. “Zarathustra’s Dilemma and the Embodiment of Morality,” Philosophical Studies 117:2, 2004.

Nathan Kelly

Nate Kelly is broadly interested in the study of American political dynamics. His primary research interest that connects to the mission of the center is income inequality in the United States. His recently published book explores the question of whether and how changes in national politics and policy influence the distribution of income in America. Contrary to the beliefs of many academics and pundits, he shows that politics has a powerful influence on the income gap between the rich and the poor. He also discusses the mechanisms through which government achieves influence on economic inequality. Fundamentally, his research shows that economic outcomes can be changed through the political process.

Recent Publications

  • “The Rise of the Super-Rich: Power Resources, Taxes, Financial Markets, and the Dynamics of the Top 1 Percent, 1949-2008.” American Sociological Review, Forthcoming (with Thomas Volscho).
  • “Federalism and American Inequality.” Journal of Politics, 74(2):414-426, 2012 (with Chris Witko).
  • “Inequality and the Dynamics of Public Opinion: The Self-Reinforcing Link Between Economic Inequality and Mass Preferences.” American Journal of Political Science 54(4):855-870, 2010 (with Peter Enns).
  • The Politics of Income Inequality in the United States. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2009.

Jana Morgan

Jana Morgan’s research related to economic justice explores the causes and consequences of income inequality with a particular focus on Latin America. She is especially interested in patterns of inequality and poverty according to racial, ethnic, gender, regional, and sectoral divisions within Latin American countries and how these patterns shape important political outcomes such as representation and participation.

Recent Publications

  • Moran, Jana and Nathan J. Kelly. 2010. “Explaining Public Attitudes toward Fighting Latin American Inequality.” Poverty and Public Policy Volume 2, Issue 3, pp. 79-111.

Cynthia Rocha

Cynthia Rocha’s substantive research area is economic justice for working families. Her research involves studying unemployed manufacturing workers, the opportunities for reemployment at commensurate wages and government investments in retraining workers. Recent research also focuses on the comparison of policies promoting economic justice across industrialized nations.

Recent Publications

  • Rocha, C. (2009). Promoting economic justice in a global context: International comparisons of policies that support economic justice. Journal of Community Practice, 17, (1-2).
  • Rocha, C. (2007). The Relationship of Government Social Expenditures and Market Driven Economic Indicators to Measures of Well-Being: An International Comparison. Social Development Issues, 29 (2), 1-14.
  • Rocha, C. Crowell, J., & McCarter, A.K. (2006). The Effects of Prolonged Job Insecurity on the Psychological Well-Being of Workers. Journal of Sociology and Social Welfare, XXXIII (3), 9-29.

Aaron Rowland

Aaron Rowland is a doctoral student in sociology. His work focuses on social movements, austerity protest and the politics of development.

Recent Publications

  • Shefner, Jon, Aaron Rowland, & George Pasdirtz. (2012). “Austerity and Protest: Bringing Hardships Back In.” Chapter 11 of Capital vs. Labor? The 36th Annual PEWS Volume. edited by Robert Ross. Boulder, CO: Paradigm.

Dena Wise

As an Extension Specialist in Consumer Economics, Dena Wise’s applied research and program focus is on economic stability and intervention for working families under financial stress. Topics include Chapter 13 bankruptcy, appropriate financial assistance and support for households in financial crisis, increasing income through micro-entrepreneurship and sustainable lifestyle and economic choices. In addition to her research, she coordinates statewide partnerships and training for applied programs in these areas.

Recent Publications

  • Wise, D., Sneed, C. and Berry, A. (2012) Toward Holistic Care: Integrating Process and Content. The Forum for Family and Consumer Issues (Online). North Carolina State University.
  • Sneed, C., Wise, D. and Berry, A. (2012) Faith and Finances: Empowering Faith Leaders to Care for Congregants in Financial Crisis. The Forum for Family and Consumer Issues (Online). North Carolina State University.
  • Wise, D. & Sneed, C. (2010) Economic Solutions: Turning Personal Resources into Cash. The University of Tennessee Extension PB1662.
  • Wise, D. & Sneed, C. (2009) Retirement Planning: Realities & Resources. Chapter 7 in Planning Today for Tomorrow’s Farms: A Workbook for Tennessee Farm Families. Alice Rhea, Editor. The University of Tennessee Extension.