An introduction to household economic instability and social policy

Heather D. Hill, Jennifer Romich, Marybeth J. Mattingly, Shomon Shamsuddin, Hilary Wething

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


This special issue of Social Service Review presents original research on the determinants and consequences of economic instability, with a focus on the interplay between instability and social policy. To frame that discussion, we define economic instability as repeated changes in employment, income, or financial wellbeing over time, particularly changes that are not intentional, predictable, or part of upward mobility. We also present a conceptual framework for how instability occurs in multiple domains of family life and how social policy has the potential to both buffer and exacerbate instability in employment and family structure. The articles in the volume engage many of these domains, including employment and program instability, and multiple areas of social policy, including workplace regulations and child-care subsidies. They also point to paths for future research, which we summarize in the final section of this introduction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)371-389
Number of pages19
JournalSocial Service Review
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science


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