Joel Handler teaches Law and the Poor, a research seminar on social welfare issues, and another seminar titled Comparative Welfare States. His research interests include poverty, social welfare reform, and the European conception of social citizenship. He has been a member of the National Academy of Science's Committee on the Status of Black America and chaired the Academy's Panel on High Risk Youth. He is a past president of the Law and Society Association.
Professor Handler previously taught at Wisconsin Law School as the George Wiley and Vilas Research Professor of Law, where he was a senior researcher at the Institute for Research on Poverty and chaired the Governor's Task Force for the Reform of General Relief.
Professor Handler's published books include Blame Welfare, Ignore Poverty and Inequality (with Yeheskel Hasenfeld, 2006); Social Citizenship and Workfare in the United States and Western Europe - The Paradox of Inclusion (2004); Hard Labor: Poor Women and Work in the Post-Welfare Era (co-edited with White, 1999); We the Poor People: Work, Poverty, and Welfare (with Hasenfeld, 1997); and The Poverty of Welfare Reform (1996). For Down From Bureaucracy: The Ambiguity of Privatization and Empowerment (1996), he won the Gladys M. Kammerer Award for the best political science publication in the field of U.S. national policy. Professor Handler was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 2004.