Mat Despard’s research focuses on the financial security of low- and moderate-income households, including tax-time savings, workplace financial wellness programs, credit, and financial services, as well as the capacity and performance of non-profit organizations serving these households and communities.
He is currently leading the Workforce Financial Stability Initiative, which seeks to understand how frontline employees’ work conditions affect their financial stability and to identify and test workplace innovations to improve these conditions. Despard is currently studying use of and employee outcomes associated with workplace credit building, financial coaching, and small-dollar installment loans in partnership with nonprofit and fin tech providers. He is also part of the Refund-to-Savings team, examining the effects of behavioral interventions to promote tax-time savings through an online platform and conducting studies on a range of consumer finance topics including student debt, material hardship, financial shocks, liquid assets, use of financial services, subjective financial well-being, and the Earned Income Tax Credit.
Despard has several years of graduate teaching experience in financial social work, nonprofit management, community practice, and social policy, as well as practice experience with nonprofit organizations serving LMI households. He is also a faculty associate with the Center on Assets, Education, and Inclusion at the University of Michigan and is a co-chair of the Policy Task Force of the Financial Capability and Asset Building for All Grand Challenges Initiative.
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