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The SSRC Library allows visitors to access materials related to self-sufficiency programs, practice and research. Visitors can view common search terms, conduct a keyword search or create a custom search using any combination of the filters at the left side of this page. To conduct a keyword search, type a term or combination of terms into the search box below, select whether you want to search the exact phrase or the words in any order, and click on the blue button to the right of the search box to view relevant results.

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  • Individual Author: Campbell, Kevin; Baumohl, Jim; Hunt, Sharon R.
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2003

    The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program for drug addicts and alcoholics (DA&A beneficiaries) ended in January 1997 without any special effort to create employment for those who lost benefits. Relying on data from a nine-site, two-year panel study of 1,764 former DA &A recipients and detailed semistructured interviews with subsamples in four sites, this paper examines employment outcomes and barriers to employment among 611 respondents who lost SSI and did not replace it with another form of publicly funded income assistance. Despite the tight labor market of the late 1990s, this group was plagued by widespread unemployment and sub-employment. At the two-year follow-up, only 25% earned $500 per month or more, and only 12% typically earned this much throughout the study. Given their age, health problems and limited human capital, it is likely that many former DA&A beneficiaries will remain indigent, returning to the SSI rolls when they requalify upon turning 65.(author abstract)

    The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program for drug addicts and alcoholics (DA&A beneficiaries) ended in January 1997 without any special effort to create employment for those who lost benefits. Relying on data from a nine-site, two-year panel study of 1,764 former DA &A recipients and detailed semistructured interviews with subsamples in four sites, this paper examines employment outcomes and barriers to employment among 611 respondents who lost SSI and did not replace it with another form of publicly funded income assistance. Despite the tight labor market of the late 1990s, this group was plagued by widespread unemployment and sub-employment. At the two-year follow-up, only 25% earned $500 per month or more, and only 12% typically earned this much throughout the study. Given their age, health problems and limited human capital, it is likely that many former DA&A beneficiaries will remain indigent, returning to the SSI rolls when they requalify upon turning 65.(author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Hamilton, Gayle
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2002

    Over the past three decades, federal and state policymakers have created a variety of programs with the common goal of moving people from welfare to work.  How to go about increasing employment among welfare recipients, however, has long been debated.  By laying out the lessons learned from the National Evaluation of Welfare-to-Work Strategies (NEWWS) — the most ambitious welfare employment study to date — this research synthesis provides answers to critical questions in the welfare-to-work policy discussion.

    NEWWS examined the long-term effects on welfare recipients and their children of 11 mandatory welfare-to-work programs, operated in seven sites, that took different approaches to helping welfare recipients find jobs, advance in the labor market, and leave public assistance.  A central question of the evaluation was:  “What program strategies work best, and for whom?”  Under study were two primary preemployment approaches — one that emphasized short-term job search assistance and encouraged people to find jobs quickly and one that emphasized longer-term skill-building...

    Over the past three decades, federal and state policymakers have created a variety of programs with the common goal of moving people from welfare to work.  How to go about increasing employment among welfare recipients, however, has long been debated.  By laying out the lessons learned from the National Evaluation of Welfare-to-Work Strategies (NEWWS) — the most ambitious welfare employment study to date — this research synthesis provides answers to critical questions in the welfare-to-work policy discussion.

    NEWWS examined the long-term effects on welfare recipients and their children of 11 mandatory welfare-to-work programs, operated in seven sites, that took different approaches to helping welfare recipients find jobs, advance in the labor market, and leave public assistance.  A central question of the evaluation was:  “What program strategies work best, and for whom?”  Under study were two primary preemployment approaches — one that emphasized short-term job search assistance and encouraged people to find jobs quickly and one that emphasized longer-term skill-building activities (primarily basic education) before entering the labor market — and a third approach that mixed elements of the other two.  The strategies’ success was measured with respect to the goals and combinations of goals that policymakers and program operators have set for welfare-to-work programs, which include cutting the welfare rolls, increasing employment, reducing poverty, not worsening (or, better still, improving) the well-being of children, and saving government money.  The study examined the programs’ effects on single-parent welfare recipients, who account for the vast majority of the national welfare caseload, as well as on different subgroups thereof for example, those considered to be most disadvantaged with respect to their likelihood of finding steady employment.  The evaluation also addressed important policy questions such as how to engage a substantial proportion of people in program activities and how enforcement of welfare-to-work participation mandates influences program effectiveness.  A complete list of the questions covered in this synthesis, along with the primary sources from NEWWS that address them in detail, is provided in Table 1.The effects of the NEWWS programs were estimated based on a wealth of data on more than 40,000 single-parent families, making NEWWS the largest study of welfare-to-work programs ever conducted.  Parents and their children were tracked over a five-year follow-up period, which, depending on the site, spanned different parts of the 1990s.  In the study’s innovative and rigorous research design, each parent was randomly assigned to a program group (in some sites, there were two program groups), whose members were eligible for program services and subject to the mandate, or a control group, whose members were not. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Michalopoulos, Charles; Schwartz, Christine; Adams-Ciardullo, Diana
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2001

    In 1996, Congress radically transformed the nation’s cash assistance welfare program when it passed the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA). The legislation replaced the 60-year-old Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) entitlement program with Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), a funding mechanism that provides states with block grants and considerable flexibility in designing their welfare programs. In addition to making other changes, many states responded by expanding their employment and training programs or changing the focus of their existing programs. A number of states replaced voluntary welfare-to-work programs that emphasized education and training with mandatory programs that stressed quick employment.

    While many aspects of the 1996 legislation and the state policies that followed were untested, the use of mandatory welfare-to-work programs was not. During the ten years prior to PRWORA, large-scale rigorous studies of welfare-to-work programs were launched in many states and counties. This report...

    In 1996, Congress radically transformed the nation’s cash assistance welfare program when it passed the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA). The legislation replaced the 60-year-old Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) entitlement program with Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), a funding mechanism that provides states with block grants and considerable flexibility in designing their welfare programs. In addition to making other changes, many states responded by expanding their employment and training programs or changing the focus of their existing programs. A number of states replaced voluntary welfare-to-work programs that emphasized education and training with mandatory programs that stressed quick employment.

    While many aspects of the 1996 legislation and the state policies that followed were untested, the use of mandatory welfare-to-work programs was not. During the ten years prior to PRWORA, large-scale rigorous studies of welfare-to-work programs were launched in many states and counties. This report investigates results from 20 of these programs to determine who has benefited from welfare-to-work programs (and who has not) and whether some practices appear more effective than others at increasing the employment and earnings of single-parent welfare recipients.

    The programs studied in this report share two key characteristics. They all required some portion of the welfare caseload to participate in a welfare-to-work program or risk losing some or all of their welfare benefits through sanctions. And they were all studied by the MDRC using a rigorous experimental research design in which individuals were assigned at random either to a program group, which was required to participate in an employment or training program, or to a control group, which did not have access to the program. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Gayle Hamilton; Freedman, Stephen; Gennetian, Lisa; Michalopoulos, Charles; Walter, Johanna; Adams-Ciardullo, Diana; Gassman-Pines, Anna; McGroder, Sharon; Zaslow, Martha; Brooks, Jennifer; Ahluwalia, Surjeet; Small, Electra; Ricchetti, Bryan
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2001

    For the past 30 years, federal and state policymakers have been legislating various types of programs to increase employment among welfare recipients. How people can best move from welfare to work, however, has been the subject of long-standing debate. This report, summarizing the long-term effects of 11 mandatory welfare-to-work programs on welfare recipients and their children, represents a major advance in resolving this debate. The findings are the final ones from the National Evaluation of Welfare-to-Work Strategies (NEWWS), a multi-year study of alternative approaches to helping welfare recipients find jobs, advance in employment, and leave public assistance.

    “What works best, and for whom?” is the central question animating this report and the NEWWS Evaluation as a whole. In particular, the evaluation compares the effects of two alternative pre-employment strategies, for different groups of welfare recipients: programs that emphasize short-term job search assistance and encourage people to find employment quickly (referred to as “Labor...

    For the past 30 years, federal and state policymakers have been legislating various types of programs to increase employment among welfare recipients. How people can best move from welfare to work, however, has been the subject of long-standing debate. This report, summarizing the long-term effects of 11 mandatory welfare-to-work programs on welfare recipients and their children, represents a major advance in resolving this debate. The findings are the final ones from the National Evaluation of Welfare-to-Work Strategies (NEWWS), a multi-year study of alternative approaches to helping welfare recipients find jobs, advance in employment, and leave public assistance.

    “What works best, and for whom?” is the central question animating this report and the NEWWS Evaluation as a whole. In particular, the evaluation compares the effects of two alternative pre-employment strategies, for different groups of welfare recipients: programs that emphasize short-term job search assistance and encourage people to find employment quickly (referred to as “Labor Force Attachment” [LFA] or, more broadly, “employment-focused” programs); and programs that emphasize longer-term skill-building activities, primarily basic education (referred to as “Human Capital Development” [HCD] or, more broadly, “education-focused” programs). The effects of each approach are estimated from a wealth of data pertaining to over 40,000 single parents (mostly mothers) and their children, and a five-year follow-up period (falling somewhere between 1991 and 1999, depending on the site), using an innovative and rigorous research design based on the random assignment of individuals to one or more program groups (with services) or to a control group (without services). (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Michalopoulos, Charles
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2001

    We know how to get low-income people to go to work: build a strong and growing economy filled with jobs, make work pay through generous tax credits and welfare programs that allow working people to keep more of their benefits, and implement programs with employment and training services and time-limited welfare benefits to encourage people to work. However, we know little about the types of policies that will help people stay employed and increase their earnings over time. This paper seeks to partially fill the gap by pulling together recent evidence on how pre-employment services and financial work incentives can promote sustained employment and earnings growth.

    The paper describes results from 13 programs begun since the early 1990s that share several important characteristics. First, each tested a policy designed to help or encourage single-parent welfare recipients to work. Second, each program now has enough information to assess whether the programs promoted sustained employment and promoted growth in hourly wages or quarterly earnings. Finally, each of the programs...

    We know how to get low-income people to go to work: build a strong and growing economy filled with jobs, make work pay through generous tax credits and welfare programs that allow working people to keep more of their benefits, and implement programs with employment and training services and time-limited welfare benefits to encourage people to work. However, we know little about the types of policies that will help people stay employed and increase their earnings over time. This paper seeks to partially fill the gap by pulling together recent evidence on how pre-employment services and financial work incentives can promote sustained employment and earnings growth.

    The paper describes results from 13 programs begun since the early 1990s that share several important characteristics. First, each tested a policy designed to help or encourage single-parent welfare recipients to work. Second, each program now has enough information to assess whether the programs promoted sustained employment and promoted growth in hourly wages or quarterly earnings. Finally, each of the programs was studied by MDRC using a rigorous experimental research design that many people think gives the most reliable information about the effects of new policies. In these studies, people were assigned at random to either a program group which was required to participate in an employment and training program or was offered a financial work incentive, or a control group which was not. (author abstract)

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