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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: Schaefer, H. Luke; Collyer, Sophie; Duncan, Greg; Edin, Kathryn; Garfinkel, Irwin; Harris, David; Smeeding, Timothy M.; Waldfogel, Jane; Wimer, Christopher; Yoshikawa, Hirokazu
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2018

    To reduce child poverty and income instability, and eliminate extreme poverty among families with children in the United States, we propose converting the Child Tax Credit and child tax exemption into a universal, monthly child allowance. Our proposal is based on principles we argue should undergird the design of such policies: universality, accessibility, adequate payment levels, and more generous support for young children. Whether benefits should decline with additional children to reflect economies of scale is a question policymakers should consider. Analyzing 2015 Current Population Survey data, we estimate our proposed child allowance would reduce child poverty by about 40 percent, deep child poverty by nearly half, and would effectively eliminate extreme child poverty. Annual net cost estimates range from $66 billion to $105 billion. (Author abstract)

    To reduce child poverty and income instability, and eliminate extreme poverty among families with children in the United States, we propose converting the Child Tax Credit and child tax exemption into a universal, monthly child allowance. Our proposal is based on principles we argue should undergird the design of such policies: universality, accessibility, adequate payment levels, and more generous support for young children. Whether benefits should decline with additional children to reflect economies of scale is a question policymakers should consider. Analyzing 2015 Current Population Survey data, we estimate our proposed child allowance would reduce child poverty by about 40 percent, deep child poverty by nearly half, and would effectively eliminate extreme child poverty. Annual net cost estimates range from $66 billion to $105 billion. (Author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Wang, Wendy; Wilcox, W. Bradford
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2017

    The rise of nontraditional routes into parenthood among Millennials is one indicator that today’s young adults are taking increasingly divergent paths toward adulthood, including family formation. In fact, when it comes to family formation, overall only 40% of young adults ages 28 to 34 have moved into family life by marrying first (regardless of whether they have had any children). Another 33% have had children outside of or before marriage, and a significant share (27%) have not reached either of these traditional milestones of adulthood. By comparison, a majority of Baby Boomers (67%) had entered intofamily life at the same age by marrying first. A much smaller share had children before marrying (20%), or had delayed both parenthood and marriage (13%) at ages 28 to 34...Even though young men and women are taking increasingly divergent paths into adulthood in America today, panel data that tracks adults across the transition to adulthood indicate that the path most likely to be associated with realizing the American Dream is one guided by the success sequence. Given the...

    The rise of nontraditional routes into parenthood among Millennials is one indicator that today’s young adults are taking increasingly divergent paths toward adulthood, including family formation. In fact, when it comes to family formation, overall only 40% of young adults ages 28 to 34 have moved into family life by marrying first (regardless of whether they have had any children). Another 33% have had children outside of or before marriage, and a significant share (27%) have not reached either of these traditional milestones of adulthood. By comparison, a majority of Baby Boomers (67%) had entered intofamily life at the same age by marrying first. A much smaller share had children before marrying (20%), or had delayed both parenthood and marriage (13%) at ages 28 to 34...Even though young men and women are taking increasingly divergent paths into adulthood in America today, panel data that tracks adults across the transition to adulthood indicate that the path most likely to be associated with realizing the American Dream is one guided by the success sequence. Given the importance of education, work, and marriage—even for a generation that has taken increasingly circuitous routes into adulthood—policy makers, business leaders, and civic leaders should work to advance public policies and cultural changes to make this sequence both more attainable and more valued. Among other things, this should include public and private efforts to strengthen career and technical education, expand the EITC or other wage subsidies, and publicize the value of the “success sequence” to adolescents and young adults across America. (Author introduction)

  • Individual Author: Patel, Falguni
    Reference Type: Conference Paper
    Year: 2017

    This PowerPoint presentation from the 2017 NAWRS Workshop describes a study investigating the impact of a trauma-informed service that matches savings for low-income TANF receipents and offers programming that includes topics such as financial goal-setting.

    This PowerPoint presentation from the 2017 NAWRS Workshop describes a study investigating the impact of a trauma-informed service that matches savings for low-income TANF receipents and offers programming that includes topics such as financial goal-setting.

  • Individual Author: Fusaro, Vincent A.
    Reference Type: Thesis
    Year: 2017

    Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), the program created by welfare reform in 1996, is implemented as a fixed federal block grant that states partially match through a "Maintenance of Effort" contribution. States can use funds in support of any of the four goals of reform: ending dependence on public support through work and marriage, promoting the formation and maintenance of two-parent families, reducing the incidence of out-of-wedlock births, and facilitating care of children in their own homes. Rather than a cash assistance program, TANF is a funding stream states partially use for cash assistance. Traditional welfare now only constitutes approximately one-quarter of TANF expenditures, though the fraction varies widely by state. Most research on state TANF implementation, however, examines the requirements and activities associated with cash assistance receipt. This dissertation comprises three studies intended to better align welfare scholarship with the contemporary form of TANF. The first study examines state TANF cash assistance expenditures and change in...

    Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), the program created by welfare reform in 1996, is implemented as a fixed federal block grant that states partially match through a "Maintenance of Effort" contribution. States can use funds in support of any of the four goals of reform: ending dependence on public support through work and marriage, promoting the formation and maintenance of two-parent families, reducing the incidence of out-of-wedlock births, and facilitating care of children in their own homes. Rather than a cash assistance program, TANF is a funding stream states partially use for cash assistance. Traditional welfare now only constitutes approximately one-quarter of TANF expenditures, though the fraction varies widely by state. Most research on state TANF implementation, however, examines the requirements and activities associated with cash assistance receipt. This dissertation comprises three studies intended to better align welfare scholarship with the contemporary form of TANF. The first study examines state TANF cash assistance expenditures and change in expenditures over time using multilevel growth curve models and a sample of all states from 1998 to 2013. I express expenditures as a per-family-in-poverty expense and as a percentage of overall TANF spending. Predictors include a number of political, social, and economic factors. I pay particular attention to the role of race in state politics. In contrast to many earlier studies, which operationalize the salience of race using welfare caseload or population demographics, I create a state-level measure of the prevalence of white stereotyping of blacks. I find that a larger proportion of whites expressing negative views of blacks is related to reduced basic assistance effort but not to rate of change in effort. Additionally, fiscal distress is associated with lower cash assistance effort. In the second study I investigate influences on categorical uses of TANF funds from 2000 to 2013. For categories of expenditures, such as work activities and supportive services, in which almost all states expend resources in almost all years, I estimate multilevel linear models of spending, again expressed both as percentages of total effort and as per-family-in-poverty expenditures. For categories with less consistent spending, I estimate logistic regression models of the probability of a state spending in the category in 2001, 2006, and 2012. I once again find a relationship between prevalence of negative stereotypes of blacks among whites and basic assistance spending. It is also related to the probability of a state using resources for pregnancy prevention or two-parent family support. Fiscal stress is associated with a higher probability of a state transferring funds to the Social Services Block Grant. Finally, the third study considers the consequences of the decline of cash assistance for low-income families. Using data from the Current Population Survey Food Security Supplement (2001-2013), I model food insecurity in low-income households as a function of state cash assistance coverage (ratio of TANF cases to low-income families). Higher coverage is associated with a reduced risk of food insecurity, particularly for households headed by a single female with no other adults. Coverage is generally not related to the presence of an employed adult in the household, however. Tying economic relief to the low-wage labor market, while having beneficial effects for some, has also increased the risk of material hardship in the most vulnerable households. Market-oriented policy may have limits as a safety net of last resort. (Author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Denning, Jeffrey T.
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2017

    Higher education has experienced many changes since the 1970s, including an increase in the price of college, an increase in student employment during college, a decrease in college completion rates, and an increase in time to degree. This paper ties these trends together by causally linking changes in financial aid with time to degree and student employment during college. I find that additional financial aid accelerates graduation for university seniors because they increase credits attempted and reduce earnings while in college. In reaching this finding, I use administrative education and earnings data to examine a discrete change in the amount of federal financial aid available to financially independent students. The estimates in this paper imply that roughly 50 percent of the observed increase in time to degree can be explained by changes in tuition. (Author abstract)

    Higher education has experienced many changes since the 1970s, including an increase in the price of college, an increase in student employment during college, a decrease in college completion rates, and an increase in time to degree. This paper ties these trends together by causally linking changes in financial aid with time to degree and student employment during college. I find that additional financial aid accelerates graduation for university seniors because they increase credits attempted and reduce earnings while in college. In reaching this finding, I use administrative education and earnings data to examine a discrete change in the amount of federal financial aid available to financially independent students. The estimates in this paper imply that roughly 50 percent of the observed increase in time to degree can be explained by changes in tuition. (Author abstract)

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