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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: O'Leary, Christopher J.
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2015

    In this paper I examine the rates at which adults in households recently receiving Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) become jobless, apply for and receive unemployment insurance (UI) benefits, and participate in publicly funded employment services. I also investigate the correlation of UI and employment services receipt with maintenance of self-sufficiency through return to work and independence from TANF. The analysis is based on person-level administrative program records from four of the nine largest states between 1997 and 2003. Evidence suggests that three-quarters of new TANF leavers experience joblessness within three years, and one-quarter of the newly jobless apply for UI benefits. About 87 percent of UI applicants have sufficient prior earnings to qualify for UI benefits; however, only about 44 percent qualify based on their job separation reasons. Among all UI applicants, TANF leavers were found to have much higher rates of voluntary quits and employer dismissals than non-TANF leavers. Nonetheless, 50 percent of TANF leavers who apply for UI ultimately...

    In this paper I examine the rates at which adults in households recently receiving Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) become jobless, apply for and receive unemployment insurance (UI) benefits, and participate in publicly funded employment services. I also investigate the correlation of UI and employment services receipt with maintenance of self-sufficiency through return to work and independence from TANF. The analysis is based on person-level administrative program records from four of the nine largest states between 1997 and 2003. Evidence suggests that three-quarters of new TANF leavers experience joblessness within three years, and one-quarter of the newly jobless apply for UI benefits. About 87 percent of UI applicants have sufficient prior earnings to qualify for UI benefits; however, only about 44 percent qualify based on their job separation reasons. Among all UI applicants, TANF leavers were found to have much higher rates of voluntary quits and employer dismissals than non-TANF leavers. Nonetheless, 50 percent of TANF leavers who apply for UI ultimately receive benefits. Public employment services are used by one-quarter of newly jobless TANF leavers. Among UI applicants, more than 75 percent use public employment services whether they receive UI benefits or not, while only 14 percent of newly jobless TANF leavers who do not apply for UI choose to use public employment services. Among TANF leavers who become jobless and apply for UI, the rate of return to TANF is lower for those who receive UI benefits. Rates of return to TANF are highest among nonbeneficiary UI applicants and non-UI applicants with low recent earnings. (Author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Polit, Denise F.; Nelson, Laura; Richburg-Hayes, Lashawn; Seith, David; Rich, Sarah
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2005

    The 1996 national welfare reform law imposed a five-year time limit on federally funded cash assistance, established stricter work requirements, and provided greater flexibility for states in designing and managing programs. This report — the last in a series from MDRC’s Project on Devolution and Urban Change — describes how welfare reform unfolded in Los Angeles County (particularly between 1998 and 2001) and compares welfare reform experiences and outcomes there with those in the other three Urban Change sites: Cuyahoga County (Cleveland), Miami- Dade County, and Philadelphia.

    After presenting a digest of the study’s findings, this summary report offers background on the Urban Change study in Los Angeles, depicts the county’s demographic and economic environment, describes the implementation of welfare reform, explains the effects of reform on welfare receipt and employment and on the lives of welfare recipients, describes what happened in Los Angeles neighborhoods during welfare reform, and concludes with policy implications drawn from conclusions from all four Urban...

    The 1996 national welfare reform law imposed a five-year time limit on federally funded cash assistance, established stricter work requirements, and provided greater flexibility for states in designing and managing programs. This report — the last in a series from MDRC’s Project on Devolution and Urban Change — describes how welfare reform unfolded in Los Angeles County (particularly between 1998 and 2001) and compares welfare reform experiences and outcomes there with those in the other three Urban Change sites: Cuyahoga County (Cleveland), Miami- Dade County, and Philadelphia.

    After presenting a digest of the study’s findings, this summary report offers background on the Urban Change study in Los Angeles, depicts the county’s demographic and economic environment, describes the implementation of welfare reform, explains the effects of reform on welfare receipt and employment and on the lives of welfare recipients, describes what happened in Los Angeles neighborhoods during welfare reform, and concludes with policy implications drawn from conclusions from all four Urban Change sites. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Richburg-Hayes, Lashawn; Freedman, Stephen
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2004

    This report analyzes the experiences of welfare “cyclers,” a group that has received relatively little attention in previous research on welfare dynamics. For this study, “cycling” is defined as receipt of welfare benefits during three or more discrete spells during a four-year observation period. The goals of this report are to understand the incidence of cycling and the types of families who cycle on and off the rolls, and, if possible, to shed light onto why they repeatedly return to assistance. The report also considers whether welfare cyclers appear to be more advantaged or more disadvantaged than other welfare recipients in the labor market. One view of cycling is that cyclers move on and off welfare, repeatedly, during transitional periods as they attempt to leave welfare. Eventually, cyclers may attain stable employment and leave assistance more permanently. An alternative view of cycling is that cyclers may work for pay only briefly and return to welfare for longer spells with little progress toward self-sufficiency.

    To explore these issues, we compare welfare,...

    This report analyzes the experiences of welfare “cyclers,” a group that has received relatively little attention in previous research on welfare dynamics. For this study, “cycling” is defined as receipt of welfare benefits during three or more discrete spells during a four-year observation period. The goals of this report are to understand the incidence of cycling and the types of families who cycle on and off the rolls, and, if possible, to shed light onto why they repeatedly return to assistance. The report also considers whether welfare cyclers appear to be more advantaged or more disadvantaged than other welfare recipients in the labor market. One view of cycling is that cyclers move on and off welfare, repeatedly, during transitional periods as they attempt to leave welfare. Eventually, cyclers may attain stable employment and leave assistance more permanently. An alternative view of cycling is that cyclers may work for pay only briefly and return to welfare for longer spells with little progress toward self-sufficiency.

    To explore these issues, we compare welfare, employment, and other outcomes for cyclers to those of two other groups within the welfare caseload: short-term recipients and long-term recipients. For this study, a short-term recipient is defined as someone who had one or two spells and a total of up to 24 months of welfare receipt during the four-year (48-month) observation period. Long-term recipients are defined as sample members with one or two spells and a total of 25 to 48 months of welfare receipt during the observation period.

    The report tracks the patterns of welfare receipt, employment, and other outcomes of 161,007 single-parent welfare recipients, aged 18 to 59, from five MDRC studies of welfare reform initiatives during the mid- to late 1990s. Three of these studies are experimental (random assignment) evaluations of welfare reform initiatives—Connecticut Jobs First, Florida Family Transition Program (FTP), and Vermont Work Restructuring Project (WRP). The other two are nonexperimental studies of the effects of welfare reform in large urban areas: Cleveland (Cuyahoga County) and Philadelphia Urban Change.

    The period of sample intake for this study took place during 1993 through 1997 and varied in duration from one year to five years across the five sites. For the three experimental evaluations, sample intake occurred when sample members were randomly assigned to a program or control group. (Only program group members are included in the sample for most analyses). For the two Urban Change sites, the years of sample intake were chosen to maximize data availability and to cover a similar time period as the evaluation sites. Sample intake in Cleveland and Philadelphia took place when sample members were first recorded as receiving a welfare payment during these years.

    As a result of the sample intake procedures for these studies, about 40 percent of the sample entered the study as new recipients, individuals who were just beginning their first observed spell of welfare receipt. The remaining 60 percent were ongoing recipients, individuals who entered the study in the middle of an observed spell of welfare receipt.

    For each sample member in the five sites, the observation period began with the month of sample intake and ended four years (48 months) later. For the first members to enter the sample, most or all of the observation period took place during the years before their state welfare agency implemented their Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) regulations in response to the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA). The rest of the sample experienced TANF’s services, time limits on eligibility to receive welfare benefits, and other requirements throughout all or most of the observation period. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Brock, Thomas; Kwakye, Isaac; Polyne, Judy C.; Richburg-Hayes, Lashawn; Seith, David; Stepick, Alex; Dutton Stepick, Carol; Cullen, Tara; Rich, Sarah
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2004

    The 1996 national welfare reform law introduced a five-year time limit on federally funded cash assistance, imposed tough new work requirements, restricted benefits for noncitizens, and gave states more flexibility to design their welfare programs than in the past. Anticipating that the law might pose particular challenges for urban areas — where poverty and welfare receipt are concentrated — MDRC launched a study to examine its implementation and effects in four big cities. This report focuses on trends in Miami-Dade County between 1996 and 2002. (Author abstract) 

    The 1996 national welfare reform law introduced a five-year time limit on federally funded cash assistance, imposed tough new work requirements, restricted benefits for noncitizens, and gave states more flexibility to design their welfare programs than in the past. Anticipating that the law might pose particular challenges for urban areas — where poverty and welfare receipt are concentrated — MDRC launched a study to examine its implementation and effects in four big cities. This report focuses on trends in Miami-Dade County between 1996 and 2002. (Author abstract) 

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