Michal Grinstein-Weiss

Michal Grinstein-Weiss


Shanti K. Khinduka Distinguished Professor

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Michal Grinstein-Weiss conducts research on improving health and socio-economic mobility for low-income households by creating scalable, evidence-based interventions to inform and shape policy, domestically and internationally. She serves as the associate dean for policy initiatives at the Brown School.

As an influential voice in the design of innovative savings and asset-building policies, Grinstein-Weiss is pioneering the field of tax-time savings and spearheading Israel’s creation of a national child savings account program. Her work also merges behavioral science and managed healthcare toward the goal of creating evidence-based solutions for effective healthcare.

She has led successful research collaborations for top industry, government, and philanthropic partners, including Fortune 500 companies, major foundations, and government agencies. Her work has been featured in popular media such as National Public Radio and The Wall Street Journal and published in top-tier academic journals, including American Economic Journal, Social Service Review, and Social Work Research.

She has held leadership roles with the Brookings Institution and Clinton Global Initiative and was recently identified as one of the highest-impact social work scholars by Research on Social Work Practice. Her honors include the Deborah K. Padgett Early Career Achievement Award and the Smith Richardson Foundation Domestic Public Policy Research Fellowship.

In the media

We don’t need a map to tell us where the pandemic hits hardest

Policymakers, health officials, corporations and St. Louis residents themselves must continue to break down economic barriers to create partnerships and solutions that support the most vulnerable in our city — those who were already facing a disproportionate social, financial and health burden before the coronavirus entered their lives, write Michal Grinstein-Weiss and Brinda Gupta.

Stories

Aid package will only postpone inevitable housing crisis

Aid package will only postpone inevitable housing crisis

As part of the new $900 billion federal stimulus package, the moratorium on evictions for renters will be extended by one month, through the end of January. The help could not come soon enough, says an expert on social and economic development at the Brown School. However, without more intentional, long-term solutions and investments, this aid will only postpone an inevitable housing crisis.
Masks aren’t the only answer to keeping workers safe

Masks aren’t the only answer to keeping workers safe

Now more than ever, the nation must have an opportunity to build a more resilient and inclusive workforce. By addressing longstanding inequalities that have undervalued essential workers, these measures would ensure that no one is put in a position of choosing health over a paycheck.
COVID-19 demonstrates why wealth matters

COVID-19 demonstrates why wealth matters

While COVID-19 has impacted all individuals, the impact has not been equal. In a new national Socioeconomic Impact of COVID-19 survey, the Social Policy Institute at Washington University in St. Louis found that liquid assets increased the likelihood that an individual could practice social distancing.
We don’t need a map to tell us where the pandemic hits hardest

We don’t need a map to tell us where the pandemic hits hardest

We don’t need a map to tell us that policymakers, health officials, corporations and St. Louis residents themselves must continue to break down economic barriers to create partnerships and solutions that support the most vulnerable in our city — those who were already facing a disproportionate social, financial and health burden before the coronavirus entered their lives.
Study finds strategies to encourage 50 percent tax-refund saving

Study finds strategies to encourage 50 percent tax-refund saving

In a research paper set for publication in the journal Behavioral Science & Policy, a team of researchers including two from Washington University in St. Louis demonstrated that — by structuring the messaging in the right way — those taxpayers can be encouraged to save their returns for long-term needs or unforeseen emergencies.
Increasing savings at tax time

Increasing savings at tax time

Motivational prompts to save tax refunds and suggested savings amounts for the tax refund can increase saving among low- and moderate-income households, finds a new experimental study from the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis.
If Obamacare gets replaced, will this study still apply?

If Obamacare gets replaced, will this study still apply?

If you are on Obamacare, you are likely a better tenant or homeowner. Families who get health insurance through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) are significantly more likely to make their rent and mortgage payments than are those who remain uninsured, suggests a new study from the Brown School and Olin Business School.
Student debt and economic hardship

Student debt and economic hardship

Students who come out of college with debt, especially larger amounts of debt, are more likely to face hardship and financial difficulty during their lives, finds a new study from Washington University in St. Louis.
WashU Expert: Getting a tax refund? Consider saving it

WashU Expert: Getting a tax refund? Consider saving it

Thinking about blowing that tax refund on a vacation or some home improvements? You might be better off pocketing your cash and saving it, said Michal Grinstein-Weiss, associate director of the Brown School’s Center for Social Development and principal investigator of the Refund To Savings initiative.

CSD’s work leads to Israel adopting child savings accounts

Israel’s parliament has passed a law funding long-term savings accounts for all newborns, based on a proposal developed by Michal Grinstein-Weiss, PhD, professor at the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis and associate director of the Center for Social Development (CSD), and on research efforts led by Michael Sherraden, PhD, the George Warren Brown Distinguished University Professor and director of CSD.

Tax-time savings programs effective in helping low-income families save refunds, study finds

Tax-time savings programs help low- and moderate-income families save significantly more of their refunds than those who choose not to participate, finds an analysis of such a program called $aveNYC. The study was co-authored by Michal Grinstein-Weiss, PhD, associate professor at Washington University in St. Louis, Brown School and associate director of the Center for Social Development.

Brown School researcher joins Clinton Global Initiative

Michal Grinstein-Weiss, PhD, associate professor at the Brown School and associate director of the Center for Social Development, has been asked to join the Clinton Global Initiative and to participate in its Financial Opportunity Working Group. The group focuses on developing sustainable programs to create financial opportunities for low- and moderate-income households.

‘Refund to Savings’ tax-time savings experiment has impact on household finances

Last year, almost 900,000 low- and moderate-income tax filers participated in a unique tax preparation savings intervention program, depositing approximately $5.9 million more into savings accounts than they would have without the intervention. As the 2014 tax season opens, the Refund to Savings initiative continues with adjustments designed to help more Americans build savings. “The intervention is promising,” says Michal Grinstein-Weiss PhD, associate director of the Center for Social Development, which helped develop the program.

With the right mortgage, home ownership builds wealth

The Great Recession, characterized by devastating mortgage defaults, has challenged the conventional wisdom that home ownership is a good investment, particularly for those with low and moderate incomes. But the conventional wisdom on the benefits of owning vs. renting still holds when done right, according to a newly published study led by the Brown School’s Center for Social Development and Michal Grinstein-Weiss, PhD. Homeowners with low and moderate incomes who participated in this study conducted between 2005-08 achieved higher net worth than their counterparts who rent. This research provides new and important evidence for the current policy debate on low-income homeownership programs,” Grinstein-Weiss says.

VIDEO: Two notable economists talk money

Noted behavioral economist Dan Ariely, visiting campus in March, took some time to sit down for a chat with friend and fellow researcher Michal Grinstein-Weiss of the Brown School’s Center for Social Development. What do great economic minds talk about when they get together? First, their groundbreaking Refund to Savings program — a joint project that encourages savings through Intuit Inc.’s TurboTax program.

‘Refund to Savings’ program largest-ever national savings experiment​

The Refund to Savings Initiative, the largest savings experiment ever conducted in the United States, begins with this tax season and is expected to reach almost 1.2 million households within the next few months. The project is a novel collaboration of university researchers, led by Michal Grinstein-Weiss, PhD, associate director of the Center for Social Development at Washington University in St. Louis, and corporate partner Intuit Inc., the maker of TurboTax software, Quicken Books and Mint. This groundbreaking project is ushering in a new way of doing research.

The power of the piggy bank: Five ways parents can teach their kids financial literacy

Washington University in St. Louis researcher Michal Grinstein-Weiss, PhD, associate professor of social work at the Brown School and associate director of the Center for Social Development, is lead author on new research that studies loan activity in low- and moderate-income homeowners. The research confirms: financial literacy begins at home. Grinstein-Weiss offers five steps parents can take to drive home the power of the piggy bank.