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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: Schneider, Daniel ; Harknett, Kristen; McLanahan, Sara
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2016

    In the United States, the Great Recession was marked by severe negative shocks to labor market conditions. In this study, we combine longitudinal data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study with U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data on local area unemployment rates to examine the relationship between adverse labor market conditions and mothers’ experiences of abusive behavior between 2001 and 2010. Unemployment and economic hardship at the household level were positively related to abusive behavior. Further, rapid increases in the unemployment rate increased men’s controlling behavior toward romantic partners even after we adjust for unemployment and economic distress at the household level. We interpret these findings as demonstrating that the uncertainty and anticipatory anxiety that go along with sudden macroeconomic downturns have negative effects on relationship quality, above and beyond the effects of job loss and material hardship. (Author abstract)

    In the United States, the Great Recession was marked by severe negative shocks to labor market conditions. In this study, we combine longitudinal data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study with U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data on local area unemployment rates to examine the relationship between adverse labor market conditions and mothers’ experiences of abusive behavior between 2001 and 2010. Unemployment and economic hardship at the household level were positively related to abusive behavior. Further, rapid increases in the unemployment rate increased men’s controlling behavior toward romantic partners even after we adjust for unemployment and economic distress at the household level. We interpret these findings as demonstrating that the uncertainty and anticipatory anxiety that go along with sudden macroeconomic downturns have negative effects on relationship quality, above and beyond the effects of job loss and material hardship. (Author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Snyder, Kathleen ; Bernstein, Sara ; Koralek, Robin
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2006

    Child care subsidies are an important support service for families moving from welfare to work. The connections between child care and work, and the work oriented focus within the welfare system since welfare reform, have increased the need for links between the welfare-to-work and child care subsidy systems to ensure families receiving TANF and moving off TANF are connected to child care subsidies. This paper summarizes findings from the third phase of the study. It is based on focus groups conducted in four locations in 2003 with current TANF participants and parents who had left TANF within the past year and were receiving child care subsidies. The report examines how these parents accessed and retained child care subsidies as they moved through and off welfare. However, it is important to note that this study did not examine the experiences of families that were not using subsidies. As a consequence, this study provides important information to help us better understand how these systems and polices work for families in the system, but it does not represent the perspectives...

    Child care subsidies are an important support service for families moving from welfare to work. The connections between child care and work, and the work oriented focus within the welfare system since welfare reform, have increased the need for links between the welfare-to-work and child care subsidy systems to ensure families receiving TANF and moving off TANF are connected to child care subsidies. This paper summarizes findings from the third phase of the study. It is based on focus groups conducted in four locations in 2003 with current TANF participants and parents who had left TANF within the past year and were receiving child care subsidies. The report examines how these parents accessed and retained child care subsidies as they moved through and off welfare. However, it is important to note that this study did not examine the experiences of families that were not using subsidies. As a consequence, this study provides important information to help us better understand how these systems and polices work for families in the system, but it does not represent the perspectives of families that were unsuccessful in navigating these systems. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Holcomb, Pamela A.; Adams, Gina; Snyder, Kathleen; Koralek, Robin; Martinson, Karin; Bernstein, Sara; Capizzano, Jeffrey
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2006

    Despite the critical role child care subsidies play in welfare-to-work efforts, little research has examined how sites have approached putting these services together for families. The Urban Institute engaged in a multiyear study to help fill the information gap about the complex interactions of these two systems on behalf of welfare families (box 2). This study occurred in three phases.

    The first phase, conducted in 2001, examined these issues from the perspective of welfare-to-work and child care administrators and staff in 11 local sites, and documented how these systems were set up and connected, the factors that aided or impeded coordination between the systems, and the processes TANF clients needed to complete as they moved through the welfare-to-work and child care subsidy systems while on welfare. (The findings from this phase are reported in Gina Adams, Pamela Holcomb, Kathleen Snyder, Robin Koralek, and Jeffrey Capizzano, Child Care Subsidies for TANF Families: The Nexus of Systems and Policies [Washington, DC: The Urban Institute, 2006].)...

    Despite the critical role child care subsidies play in welfare-to-work efforts, little research has examined how sites have approached putting these services together for families. The Urban Institute engaged in a multiyear study to help fill the information gap about the complex interactions of these two systems on behalf of welfare families (box 2). This study occurred in three phases.

    The first phase, conducted in 2001, examined these issues from the perspective of welfare-to-work and child care administrators and staff in 11 local sites, and documented how these systems were set up and connected, the factors that aided or impeded coordination between the systems, and the processes TANF clients needed to complete as they moved through the welfare-to-work and child care subsidy systems while on welfare. (The findings from this phase are reported in Gina Adams, Pamela Holcomb, Kathleen Snyder, Robin Koralek, and Jeffrey Capizzano, Child Care Subsidies for TANF Families: The Nexus of Systems and Policies [Washington, DC: The Urban Institute, 2006].)

    The second phase of the study examined a range of issues around subsidy use among parents who leave TANF. It included data from these 11 sites, as well as an examination of research on welfare leavers and subsidy patterns, a review of state policies regarding child care subsidies for welfare leavers for a range of states, and interviews with national experts to discuss the retention of child care subsidies as parents transition off cash assistance. (The findings from this phase are reported in Gina Adams, Robin Koralek, and Karin Martinson, Child Care Subsidies and Leaving Welfare: Policy Issues and Strategies [Washington, DC: The Urban Institute, 2006].)

    The third phase used focus groups in four of the 11 sites to explore the connections between the welfare-to-work and child care systems from the perspective of parents. These focus groups were made up of parents currently receiving TANF and child care subsidies, as well as parents who had left TANF within the previous year and were still receiving child care subsidies. (The findings from this phase are reported in Kathleen Snyder, Sara Bernstein, and Robin Koralek, Parents' Perspectives on Child Care Subsidies and Moving from Welfare to Work [Washington, DC: The Urban Institute, 2006].)

    This document highlights overarching issues and themes that emerged from all three phases of this study, including those facing administrators and agencies working to provide these services to parents, and the implications of these issues for TANF clients and their children. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Moss, Philip; Tilly, Chris
    Reference Type: Book Chapter/Book
    Year: 2001

    Is the United States justified in seeing itself as a meritocracy, where stark inequalities in pay and employment reflect differences in skills, education, and effort? Or does racial discrimination still permeate the labor market, resulting in the systematic under hiring and underpaying of racial minorities, regardless of merit? Throughout the 1980s and early 1990s African Americans have lost ground to whites in the labor market, but this widening racial inequality is most often attributed to economic restructuring, not the racial attitudes of employers. It is argued that the educational gap between blacks and whites, though narrowing, carries greater penalties now that we are living in an era of global trade and technological change that favors highly educated workers and displaces the low-skilled.

    Stories Employers Tell demonstrates that this conventional wisdom is incomplete. Racial discrimination is still a fundamental part of the explanation of labor market disadvantage. Drawing upon a wide-ranging survey of employers in Atlanta, Boston, Detroit, and Los Angeles, Moss...

    Is the United States justified in seeing itself as a meritocracy, where stark inequalities in pay and employment reflect differences in skills, education, and effort? Or does racial discrimination still permeate the labor market, resulting in the systematic under hiring and underpaying of racial minorities, regardless of merit? Throughout the 1980s and early 1990s African Americans have lost ground to whites in the labor market, but this widening racial inequality is most often attributed to economic restructuring, not the racial attitudes of employers. It is argued that the educational gap between blacks and whites, though narrowing, carries greater penalties now that we are living in an era of global trade and technological change that favors highly educated workers and displaces the low-skilled.

    Stories Employers Tell demonstrates that this conventional wisdom is incomplete. Racial discrimination is still a fundamental part of the explanation of labor market disadvantage. Drawing upon a wide-ranging survey of employers in Atlanta, Boston, Detroit, and Los Angeles, Moss and Tilly investigate the types of jobs employers offer, the skills required, and the recruitment, screening and hiring procedures used to fill them. The authors then follow up in greater depth on selected employers to explore the attitudes, motivations, and rationale underlying their hiring decisions, as well as decisions about where to locate a business.

    Moss and Tilly show how an employer's perception of the merit or suitability of a candidate is often colored by racial stereotypes and culture-bound expectations. The rising demand for soft skills, such as communication skills and people skills, opens the door to discrimination that is rarely overt, or even conscious, but is nonetheless damaging to the prospects of minority candidates and particularly difficult to police. Some employers expressed a concern to race-match employees with the customers they are likely to be dealing with. As more jobs require direct interaction with the public, race has become increasingly important in determining labor market fortunes. Frequently, employers also take into account the racial make-up of neighborhoods when deciding where to locate their businesses.

    Ultimately, it is the hiring decisions of employers that determine whether today's labor market reflects merit or prejudice. This book, the result of years of careful research, offers us a rare opportunity to view the issue of discrimination through the employers' eyes. (author abstract) 

  • Individual Author: Holzer, Harry J.
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 1996

    In this paper I use data from a recent survey of employers to investigate the effects of employer skill needs on the wage levels and employment of newly hired workers, and especially on how these outcomes differ by race and gender. The skill needs are measured by various human capital credentials required of applicants at the hiring stage (educational attainment, specific experience, prior training) and by the daily task performance of those who are newly hired (reading/writing, arithmetic, use of computers).

    The results show that few new jobs are available to those workers who lack most of these credentials or who cannot perform most of these tasks. This is true even of jobs that do not require applicants to have college degrees.

    The hiring and task performance requirements of new jobs are associated with lower employment levels of blacks relative to whites within each gender, and some tasks are associated with higher employment levels of females relative to males. These requirements also have significant effects on starting hourly wages. Both effects are found...

    In this paper I use data from a recent survey of employers to investigate the effects of employer skill needs on the wage levels and employment of newly hired workers, and especially on how these outcomes differ by race and gender. The skill needs are measured by various human capital credentials required of applicants at the hiring stage (educational attainment, specific experience, prior training) and by the daily task performance of those who are newly hired (reading/writing, arithmetic, use of computers).

    The results show that few new jobs are available to those workers who lack most of these credentials or who cannot perform most of these tasks. This is true even of jobs that do not require applicants to have college degrees.

    The hiring and task performance requirements of new jobs are associated with lower employment levels of blacks relative to whites within each gender, and some tasks are associated with higher employment levels of females relative to males. These requirements also have significant effects on starting hourly wages. Both effects are found even after controlling for the educational attainments of hired workers.

    The effects of employer skill needs on employment patterns and wages help to account for some of the observed differences across groups in hourly wages, especially between black and white males, after controlling for education. Recent trends over time in relative wages and employment across these groups also seem to be quite consistent with these findings, along with evidence that these skill needs have been rising among employers.

    In addition, I find that various other employer characteristics such as their size, location, and the racial composition of their clientele also have significant effects on their tendencies to hire blacks. These findings suggest that employer preferences across racial groups play some role in determining employment outcomes of these groups, even after controlling for skill needs. (author abstract)

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