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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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The SSRC Library includes resources which may be available only via journal subscription. The SSRC may be able to provide users without subscription access to a particular journal with a single use copy of the full text.  Please email the SSRC with your request.

The SSRC Library collection is constantly growing and new research is added regularly. We welcome our users to submit a library item to help us grow our collection in response to your needs.


  • Individual Author: Cancian, Maria; Cook, Steven T. ; Seki, Mai; Wimer, Lynn
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2017

    Most families in the child protective services system also interact with the child support enforcement system. This study exploits a natural experiment in Wisconsin, created by the state's large regional variation in child support referral policy, to estimate a potentially important effect of child support enforcement on the duration of out-of-home foster care placement. The effect we examine is whether requiring parents to pay support to offset the costs of foster care delays children's reunification with a parent or other permanent placement. We find evidence of this unintended effect, which is important not only because longer foster care spells are expensive for taxpayers, but also because extended placements in foster care may have consequences for child well-being. Our results highlight the potential importance of cross-systems analysis and the potential consequences when the policies and fundamental objectives of public systems are inconsistently coordinated. We discuss the implications of our findings for child support and child protective services policy. (Author...

    Most families in the child protective services system also interact with the child support enforcement system. This study exploits a natural experiment in Wisconsin, created by the state's large regional variation in child support referral policy, to estimate a potentially important effect of child support enforcement on the duration of out-of-home foster care placement. The effect we examine is whether requiring parents to pay support to offset the costs of foster care delays children's reunification with a parent or other permanent placement. We find evidence of this unintended effect, which is important not only because longer foster care spells are expensive for taxpayers, but also because extended placements in foster care may have consequences for child well-being. Our results highlight the potential importance of cross-systems analysis and the potential consequences when the policies and fundamental objectives of public systems are inconsistently coordinated. We discuss the implications of our findings for child support and child protective services policy. (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: Richburg-Hayes, Lashawn; Anzelone, Caitlin; Dechausay, Nadine; Landers, Patrick
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2017

    This report represents the final synthesis of the Behavioral Interventions to Advance Self-Sufficiency project. Overall, the project’s findings demonstrated that applying behavioral insights to challenges facing human services programs can improve program efficiency, operations, and outcomes at a relatively low cost.

    The report discusses in detail:

    •overall findings from the project;

    •lessons learned during the knowledge development period as well as across the project’s sites;

    •the broader context in which the findings are situated, with respect to both applied behavioral insights and human services; and

    •implications for future research and practice.

    Each chapter is accompanied by at least one independent commentary by an expert in the field. (Author abstract)

    This report represents the final synthesis of the Behavioral Interventions to Advance Self-Sufficiency project. Overall, the project’s findings demonstrated that applying behavioral insights to challenges facing human services programs can improve program efficiency, operations, and outcomes at a relatively low cost.

    The report discusses in detail:

    •overall findings from the project;

    •lessons learned during the knowledge development period as well as across the project’s sites;

    •the broader context in which the findings are situated, with respect to both applied behavioral insights and human services; and

    •implications for future research and practice.

    Each chapter is accompanied by at least one independent commentary by an expert in the field. (Author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Rossin-Slater, Maya
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2017

    With nearly half of US births occurring out of wedlock, understanding how parents navigate their relationship options is important. This paper examines the consequences of a large exogenous change to parental relationship contract options on parental behavior and child well-being. Identification comes from the staggered timing of state reforms that substantially lowered the cost of legal paternity establishment. I show that the resulting increases in paternity establishment are partially driven by reductions in parental marriage. Although unmarried fathers become more involved with their children along some dimensions, the net effects on father involvement and child well-being are negative or zero. (Author abstract)

    With nearly half of US births occurring out of wedlock, understanding how parents navigate their relationship options is important. This paper examines the consequences of a large exogenous change to parental relationship contract options on parental behavior and child well-being. Identification comes from the staggered timing of state reforms that substantially lowered the cost of legal paternity establishment. I show that the resulting increases in paternity establishment are partially driven by reductions in parental marriage. Although unmarried fathers become more involved with their children along some dimensions, the net effects on father involvement and child well-being are negative or zero. (Author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Cozzolino, Elizabeth; Williams, Christine L.
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2017

    Despite increased spending on child support enforcement in the United States over the past 30 years, child support collections remain around 40 percent. Child support is a gendered phenomenon, typically involving a transfer of funds from noncustodial fathers to custodial mothers in most cases. We argue that new norms of separated fatherhood and motherhood may contribute to low rates of child support compliance. An analysis of 21 in-depth interviews with members of separated families about the meaning of child support payments reveals two controlling images of gendered parenting—the child support queen and the disappointing dad—that hold single mothers responsible for children’s economic as well as emotional well-being and evaluate separated fathers mostly on their emotional involvement with children. Because these gendered expectations downplay the importance of noncustodial fathers’ financial contributions and question custodial mothers’ entitlement to receive child support, they reinforce gender inequality in separated families and may contribute to low rates of child support...

    Despite increased spending on child support enforcement in the United States over the past 30 years, child support collections remain around 40 percent. Child support is a gendered phenomenon, typically involving a transfer of funds from noncustodial fathers to custodial mothers in most cases. We argue that new norms of separated fatherhood and motherhood may contribute to low rates of child support compliance. An analysis of 21 in-depth interviews with members of separated families about the meaning of child support payments reveals two controlling images of gendered parenting—the child support queen and the disappointing dad—that hold single mothers responsible for children’s economic as well as emotional well-being and evaluate separated fathers mostly on their emotional involvement with children. Because these gendered expectations downplay the importance of noncustodial fathers’ financial contributions and question custodial mothers’ entitlement to receive child support, they reinforce gender inequality in separated families and may contribute to low rates of child support collection. (Author abstract)

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