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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: Bitler, Marianne; Hoynes, Hilary; Domina, Thurston
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2018

    Preschool interventions are arguably one of the most important elements of support for poor families. Head Start, a federal program for children in low-income families administered through the Department of Health and Human Services, is a case in point. While research shows a range of benefits lasting beyond preschool for participants, evidence of the “fade-out” of cognitive gains of the preschool years and the differential impact of the program on children with different skill levels in the preschool population has prompted debate over its efficacy. Our recent work is the first comprehensive analysis of how modern Head Start impacts vary across the skill distribution in the preschool and early elementary period. We find evidence of a large and positive short-term effect of Head Start, and that cognitive gains are largest at the bottom of the achievement spectrum, particularly among Hispanic children. The results of our study and others showing a positive effect in other areas add to the evidence of the success of Head Start in improving the wellbeing of poor children. (Author...

    Preschool interventions are arguably one of the most important elements of support for poor families. Head Start, a federal program for children in low-income families administered through the Department of Health and Human Services, is a case in point. While research shows a range of benefits lasting beyond preschool for participants, evidence of the “fade-out” of cognitive gains of the preschool years and the differential impact of the program on children with different skill levels in the preschool population has prompted debate over its efficacy. Our recent work is the first comprehensive analysis of how modern Head Start impacts vary across the skill distribution in the preschool and early elementary period. We find evidence of a large and positive short-term effect of Head Start, and that cognitive gains are largest at the bottom of the achievement spectrum, particularly among Hispanic children. The results of our study and others showing a positive effect in other areas add to the evidence of the success of Head Start in improving the wellbeing of poor children. (Author introduction)

  • Individual Author: Herring, Bradley; Moffitt, Robert
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2018

    We study whether SNAP mediates the effect of food insecurity on future health and healthcare utilization more for the extreme poor (i.e., those with income below 50% of the poverty line) than it mediates the effect for other low-income families (i.e., with incomes between 50% and 200% of the poverty line). We use data for about 23,000 people in the 2011- 2012, 2012-2013, and 2013-2014 linked NHIS-MEPS surveys with the measures of food insecurity coming from the NHIS and the measures of SNAP benefits and various health outcomes from the MEPS. We find that SNAP significantly reduces the negative effects of food insecurity on several measures of health and healthcare-related outcomes for nonelderly adults, and that this reduction is often significantly greater for those in extreme poverty. However, we find no significant effects of this type for children. In addition, attempts to control for possible endogeneity of the SNAP effect of interest are unsuccessful because of a lack of strong instruments. Nevertheless, endogeneity of the effect of interest maybe biased downward,...

    We study whether SNAP mediates the effect of food insecurity on future health and healthcare utilization more for the extreme poor (i.e., those with income below 50% of the poverty line) than it mediates the effect for other low-income families (i.e., with incomes between 50% and 200% of the poverty line). We use data for about 23,000 people in the 2011- 2012, 2012-2013, and 2013-2014 linked NHIS-MEPS surveys with the measures of food insecurity coming from the NHIS and the measures of SNAP benefits and various health outcomes from the MEPS. We find that SNAP significantly reduces the negative effects of food insecurity on several measures of health and healthcare-related outcomes for nonelderly adults, and that this reduction is often significantly greater for those in extreme poverty. However, we find no significant effects of this type for children. In addition, attempts to control for possible endogeneity of the SNAP effect of interest are unsuccessful because of a lack of strong instruments. Nevertheless, endogeneity of the effect of interest maybe biased downward, strengthening the support of the OLS estimates as valid. (Author abstract)

     

  • Individual Author: Smeeding, Tim
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2017

    Some children are the blameless victims of poverty, while others are the lucky beneficiaries of affluence. We use the terms "blameless" or "lucky" because, as best we can tell, children do not choose their parents. It all depends on where the stork happens to drop them. However, the case against child poverty goes beyond this now-standard point that poor children do not deserve their fate. There is also a strong consequentialist case against poverty. In many countries, both rich and poor, child poverty threatens future national income growth and stability. Societies with lower child poverty rates have higher rates of economic mobility and greater equality of opportunity, and thus better exploit their available talent. It follows that it is in everyone's interest, not just that of poor children, to minimize child poverty. Whatever the larger macroeconomic effects of poverty may be, it is clear that early-childhood poverty leads to major downstream problems for the children experiencing it. Poverty in early years can have long-lasting consequences for brain...

    Some children are the blameless victims of poverty, while others are the lucky beneficiaries of affluence. We use the terms "blameless" or "lucky" because, as best we can tell, children do not choose their parents. It all depends on where the stork happens to drop them. However, the case against child poverty goes beyond this now-standard point that poor children do not deserve their fate. There is also a strong consequentialist case against poverty. In many countries, both rich and poor, child poverty threatens future national income growth and stability. Societies with lower child poverty rates have higher rates of economic mobility and greater equality of opportunity, and thus better exploit their available talent. It follows that it is in everyone's interest, not just that of poor children, to minimize child poverty. Whatever the larger macroeconomic effects of poverty may be, it is clear that early-childhood poverty leads to major downstream problems for the children experiencing it. Poverty in early years can have long-lasting consequences for brain development, health status, school performance, labor market outcomes, and future well-being more generally. And family instability, which is frequently linked to poverty, has negative effects as well. When children are raised in households with constantly changing family members, housing, and income, they experience negative consequences across the life course. The case for taking child poverty more seriously is accordingly strong. Why, then, doesn't our country have a long-term plan to reduce poverty substantially? The purpose of this essay is to discuss what types of anti-poverty plans would be consistent with the social science evidence and also dramatically reduce child poverty. (Author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Varner, Charles; Mattingly, Marybeth; Grusky, David
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2017

    In recent years, much attention has been paid to the changing structure of U.S. income inequality, but somewhat less to the changing structure of U.S. poverty. Why has the discussion of "new poverty facts" been sidelined? It is certainly not because the changes have been minor or unimportant. To the contrary, the landscape of U.S. poverty appears to be changing rapidly, with many of the most popular proposals to reform the country's safety net motivated precisely by new empirical developments. But these developments have typically been invoked in piecemeal fashion and have not captivated the country to the extent that the spectacular takeoff in income inequality has. Although there are many reasons for this reticence (including the obvious one that recent trends in income inequality are, by any standard, especially dramatic), we cannot dismiss the frequently voiced worry that an open discussion would be counterproductive because some reformers might seize on that discussion to justify reforms oriented more toward reducing spending than reducing poverty. This worry...

    In recent years, much attention has been paid to the changing structure of U.S. income inequality, but somewhat less to the changing structure of U.S. poverty. Why has the discussion of "new poverty facts" been sidelined? It is certainly not because the changes have been minor or unimportant. To the contrary, the landscape of U.S. poverty appears to be changing rapidly, with many of the most popular proposals to reform the country's safety net motivated precisely by new empirical developments. But these developments have typically been invoked in piecemeal fashion and have not captivated the country to the extent that the spectacular takeoff in income inequality has. Although there are many reasons for this reticence (including the obvious one that recent trends in income inequality are, by any standard, especially dramatic), we cannot dismiss the frequently voiced worry that an open discussion would be counterproductive because some reformers might seize on that discussion to justify reforms oriented more toward reducing spending than reducing poverty. This worry sometimes leads to less-than-transparent discussion. We offer this article in the admittedly quaint hope that it is better to operate with full and complete transparency and that an open and honest discussion of the facts will in the end lead to informed poverty-reducing policy. The simple predicate of this piece is that, given the massive externalities brought on by running a high-poverty economy, there is an open-and-shut case for reform efforts that are authentically focused on reducing the poverty rate. We will attempt, therefore, to identify the key poverty facts that such legitimate reform efforts should bear in mind. In the course of doing so, we will reveal how the current array of reform proposals, including those published here, attend to different sets of stylized facts. (Author introduction)

  • Individual Author: Gelatt, Julia; Koball, Heather; Bernstein, Hamutal; Runes, Charmaine; Pratt, Eleanor
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2017

    Over seven million U.S. children live with at least one noncitizen parent -- and 80 percent of these children are US-born citizens. Close to 5 million US-citizen children live with an unauthorized immigrant parent, potentially subject to deportation. Research has shown that the deportation of a parent has serious deleterious effects on families—emotional distress, behavioral issues, and economic hardship for children—and that even the threat of deportation can hurt a family’s well-being by causing fear that restricts mobility, access to jobs, and use of public and private supports in times of need. The election of President Trump, with his plans to increase efforts to identify and deport unauthorized immigrants, has signaled a harsher policy environment for immigrant families than in recent years. In State Immigration Enforcement Policies: How They Impact Low-Income Households, researchers at NCCP, Urban Institute, and Migration Policy Institute looked at how the changing immigration policy environment is likely to affect immigrant families. Specifically, the report examines...

    Over seven million U.S. children live with at least one noncitizen parent -- and 80 percent of these children are US-born citizens. Close to 5 million US-citizen children live with an unauthorized immigrant parent, potentially subject to deportation. Research has shown that the deportation of a parent has serious deleterious effects on families—emotional distress, behavioral issues, and economic hardship for children—and that even the threat of deportation can hurt a family’s well-being by causing fear that restricts mobility, access to jobs, and use of public and private supports in times of need. The election of President Trump, with his plans to increase efforts to identify and deport unauthorized immigrants, has signaled a harsher policy environment for immigrant families than in recent years. In State Immigration Enforcement Policies: How They Impact Low-Income Households, researchers at NCCP, Urban Institute, and Migration Policy Institute looked at how the changing immigration policy environment is likely to affect immigrant families. Specifically, the report examines whether immigrant families living in states that ramped up enforcement of federal policy saw any changes in their material hardship, or how often fear of deportation affected their ability to pay for essentials (such as rent, utilities, or food). Developed with an interactive “State Immigration Policy Resource”, the report highlights important connections between immigration policy enforcement and well-being in immigrant households. (Author abstract) 

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