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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: Burgard, Sarah A.; Kalousova, Lucie; Danziger, Sheldon; Seefeldt, Kristin S.
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2013

    The “Great Recession” that lasted from December 2007 through June 2009 was the most severe recession in recent decades. It lasted longer and resulted in more job losses than previous downturns, and an unusually large number of workers experienced long-term unemployment during this recession and the current slow recovery. Analyzing data from the 2008 Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP), which tracked households from mid-2008 through early 2011, Johnson and Feng (2013) found that most of the substantial increase in the unemployment rate was driven by a surge in multiple and extended jobless spells (lasting 6 months or more), rather than an increase in the likelihood of becoming unemployed at all. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 41 percent of the unemployed in 2012 had been without work for 27 weeks or more compared to only 17.6 percent prior to the recession.

    Long-term unemployment is associated with serious hardships. For example, levels of food insecurity increase as the unemployment rate rises (Nord and Carlson, 2009) as do levels of financial...

    The “Great Recession” that lasted from December 2007 through June 2009 was the most severe recession in recent decades. It lasted longer and resulted in more job losses than previous downturns, and an unusually large number of workers experienced long-term unemployment during this recession and the current slow recovery. Analyzing data from the 2008 Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP), which tracked households from mid-2008 through early 2011, Johnson and Feng (2013) found that most of the substantial increase in the unemployment rate was driven by a surge in multiple and extended jobless spells (lasting 6 months or more), rather than an increase in the likelihood of becoming unemployed at all. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 41 percent of the unemployed in 2012 had been without work for 27 weeks or more compared to only 17.6 percent prior to the recession.

    Long-term unemployment is associated with serious hardships. For example, levels of food insecurity increase as the unemployment rate rises (Nord and Carlson, 2009) as do levels of financial problems (Lovell and Oh, 2006). While we know about these broad associations between unemployment rates and rates of hardship across the population, prior studies typically have focused on one or just a few hardships. In this brief, we examine levels and correlates of long- term unemployment among working age adults in the Michigan and Recession and Recovery Study (MRRS). We also explore whether long-term unemployment was associated with higher levels of material hardship in four key domains: financial problems, housing instability, food insecurity, and foregone medical care. We examine these domains one at a time, and then consider the total burden of hardship across the four domains. (author introduction)

  • Individual Author: Barnes, Carolyn; Danziger, Sandra K.; Rodems, Richard
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2012

    Research on public welfare agencies demonstrates that the design of the cash assistance program negatively affects recipients’ external political efficacy and political participation. This line of research suggests that public welfare administration may have political feedback effects on mass political behavior in two ways: 1) by offering resources and incentives for political action (resource effects) and 2) by providing information and meaning (interpretive effects). Essentially, policies teach lessons about citizenship, government, and politics that influence people’s values and attitudes, group identities, their orientations to government, and patterns of political participation.

    Our inquiry examines these questions in the context of a voluntary private social service program, Starfish Family Success Program (FSP). We ask whether and how participation shapes the efficacy beliefs of low income parents and specifically disconnected parents in the Detroit metro area. Our data consists of panel survey data and in-depth interview data collected as part of a program...

    Research on public welfare agencies demonstrates that the design of the cash assistance program negatively affects recipients’ external political efficacy and political participation. This line of research suggests that public welfare administration may have political feedback effects on mass political behavior in two ways: 1) by offering resources and incentives for political action (resource effects) and 2) by providing information and meaning (interpretive effects). Essentially, policies teach lessons about citizenship, government, and politics that influence people’s values and attitudes, group identities, their orientations to government, and patterns of political participation.

    Our inquiry examines these questions in the context of a voluntary private social service program, Starfish Family Success Program (FSP). We ask whether and how participation shapes the efficacy beliefs of low income parents and specifically disconnected parents in the Detroit metro area. Our data consists of panel survey data and in-depth interview data collected as part of a program evaluation of the Starfish Family Success Program. We use ordinary least squares regression to test the claim that FSP participation has spill-over effects on individuals’ values and beliefs. Through qualitative analysis, we further highlight mechanisms of program design that may affect our efficacy outcomes. The subjective reports of experiences in the FSP program highlight the most salient program attributes and how these experiences may contribute to their efficacy beliefs. Our findings suggest that voluntary FSP program participation is associated with substantial increases in both self-efficacy and parental efficacy among parents in our sample who have been disconnected from work and welfare. Our qualitative analysis supports our statistical findings regarding self-efficacy, suggesting that the FSP program is a source of social and emotional support that helps families feel empowered to improve how they navigate hardships, cope with stress and solve problems. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Redcross, Cindy; Bloom, Dan; Valentine, Erin; Manno, Michelle S.; Muller-Ravett, Sara; Seefeldt, Kristin; Yahner, Jennifer; Young, Alford A. Jr. ; Zweig, Janine
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2010

    The Joyce Foundation’s Transitional Jobs Reentry Demonstration (TJRD), also funded by the JEHT Foundation and the U.S. Department of Labor, is testing employment programs for former prisoners in Chicago, Detroit, Milwaukee, and St. Paul, using a rigorous random assignment design. MDRC is leading the evaluation, along with the Urban Institute and the University of Michigan. The project focuses on transitional jobs (TJ) programs that provide temporary subsidized jobs, support services, and job placement help. Transitional jobs are seen as a promising model for former prisoners and for other disadvantaged groups.

    In 2007-2008, more than 1,800 men who had recently been released from prison were assigned, at random, to a transitional jobs program or to a program providing basic job search (JS) assistance but no subsidized jobs. Both groups are being followed using state data on employment and recidivism. Random assignment ensures that if significant differences emerge between the two groups, those differences can be attributed with confidence to the different types of...

    The Joyce Foundation’s Transitional Jobs Reentry Demonstration (TJRD), also funded by the JEHT Foundation and the U.S. Department of Labor, is testing employment programs for former prisoners in Chicago, Detroit, Milwaukee, and St. Paul, using a rigorous random assignment design. MDRC is leading the evaluation, along with the Urban Institute and the University of Michigan. The project focuses on transitional jobs (TJ) programs that provide temporary subsidized jobs, support services, and job placement help. Transitional jobs are seen as a promising model for former prisoners and for other disadvantaged groups.

    In 2007-2008, more than 1,800 men who had recently been released from prison were assigned, at random, to a transitional jobs program or to a program providing basic job search (JS) assistance but no subsidized jobs. Both groups are being followed using state data on employment and recidivism. Random assignment ensures that if significant differences emerge between the two groups, those differences can be attributed with confidence to the different types of employment services each group received.

    This is the first major report in the TJRD project. It describes how the demonstration was implemented and assesses how the transitional jobs programs affected employment and recidivism during the first year after people entered the project, a period when the recession caused unemployment rates to rise substantially in all four cities. (author introduction)

  • 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)

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