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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: Edelman, Peter B.; Holzer, Harry J.
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2013

    In this paper we will briefly review recent trends in employment outcomes for disadvantaged youth, focusing specifically on those who have become "disconnected" from school and the labor market, and why these trends have occurred. We then review a range of policy prescriptions that might improve those outcomes. These policies include: 1) Efforts to enhance education and employment outcomes, both among in-school youth who are at risk of dropping out and becoming disconnected as well as out-of-school youth who have already done so; 2) Policies to increase earnings and incent more labor force participation among youth, such as expanding the eligibility of childless adults (and especially non-custodial parents) for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC); and 3) Specific policies to reduce barriers to employment faced by ex-offenders and non-custodial parents (NCPs). We also consider policies that target the demand side of the labor market, in efforts to spur the willingness of employers to hire these young people and perhaps to improve the quality of jobs available to them.  (author...

    In this paper we will briefly review recent trends in employment outcomes for disadvantaged youth, focusing specifically on those who have become "disconnected" from school and the labor market, and why these trends have occurred. We then review a range of policy prescriptions that might improve those outcomes. These policies include: 1) Efforts to enhance education and employment outcomes, both among in-school youth who are at risk of dropping out and becoming disconnected as well as out-of-school youth who have already done so; 2) Policies to increase earnings and incent more labor force participation among youth, such as expanding the eligibility of childless adults (and especially non-custodial parents) for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC); and 3) Specific policies to reduce barriers to employment faced by ex-offenders and non-custodial parents (NCPs). We also consider policies that target the demand side of the labor market, in efforts to spur the willingness of employers to hire these young people and perhaps to improve the quality of jobs available to them.  (author abstract)

    Also published as IRP Discussion Paper 1412-13.

  • Individual Author: Shaefer, Luke; Edin, Kathryn
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2012

    In fact the 1996 welfare reform ended the only cash entitlement program in the U.S. for poor families with children, replacing it with a program that offers time-limited cash assistance and requires able-bodied recipients to participate in work activities. This reform, combined with changes to other means-tested public programs that have raised the benefits of work for low-income households, has been followed by a dramatic decline in cash assistance caseloads, from an average of 12.3 million recipients per month in 1996 to 4.4 million in June 2011; only 1.1 million of these beneficiaries are adults.

    Thus, in the aftermath of the Great Recession while millions of American parents continue to experience long spells of unemployment, they have little access to means-tested income support programs. Has this produced a new group of American poor: households with children living on virtually no income?

    We use the term “extreme poor” to refer to this group, and adapt one of the World Bank’s measures of global poverty to define it: $2 or less, per person, per day. This...

    In fact the 1996 welfare reform ended the only cash entitlement program in the U.S. for poor families with children, replacing it with a program that offers time-limited cash assistance and requires able-bodied recipients to participate in work activities. This reform, combined with changes to other means-tested public programs that have raised the benefits of work for low-income households, has been followed by a dramatic decline in cash assistance caseloads, from an average of 12.3 million recipients per month in 1996 to 4.4 million in June 2011; only 1.1 million of these beneficiaries are adults.

    Thus, in the aftermath of the Great Recession while millions of American parents continue to experience long spells of unemployment, they have little access to means-tested income support programs. Has this produced a new group of American poor: households with children living on virtually no income?

    We use the term “extreme poor” to refer to this group, and adapt one of the World Bank’s measures of global poverty to define it: $2 or less, per person, per day. This policy brief estimates the prevalence of extreme poverty in the U.S., and assesses how it has changed over the past 15 years. As a result of shrinking access to cash assistance and the increasingly poor economic climate, we expect the size of the population of households with children living in extreme poverty to increase between 1996 and 2011, both in terms of total households, and as a proportion of all poor households. (author introduction)

  • Individual Author: Yeung, Wei-Jun Jean; Rauscher, Emily
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2011

    With unemployment at a long-time high, youth employment opportunities are dire. This paper draws data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics to examine the relationship between youth employment and behavior problems. We depict the employment patterns of American youth aged 12 through 18 and find significant differences in employment rates and job characteristics between black and white youth. Conflicting hypotheses about mediating mechanisms through which youth employment shape children’s behavior are examined. We find that employment is associated with fewer behavior problems, but only when the jobs offer opportunities for human capital development and only when working moderate hours. Employment has a stronger impact on black than on white youth and the positive effect of work is mediated by positive peer influence. Findings support social and human capital theories and, more broadly, the social network/role model explanation for adolescent behavior. Implications in light of the current recession are discussed. (author abstract)

    With unemployment at a long-time high, youth employment opportunities are dire. This paper draws data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics to examine the relationship between youth employment and behavior problems. We depict the employment patterns of American youth aged 12 through 18 and find significant differences in employment rates and job characteristics between black and white youth. Conflicting hypotheses about mediating mechanisms through which youth employment shape children’s behavior are examined. We find that employment is associated with fewer behavior problems, but only when the jobs offer opportunities for human capital development and only when working moderate hours. Employment has a stronger impact on black than on white youth and the positive effect of work is mediated by positive peer influence. Findings support social and human capital theories and, more broadly, the social network/role model explanation for adolescent behavior. Implications in light of the current recession are discussed. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Almond, Douglas; Hoynes, Hilary; Schnazenbach, Diane W.
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2011

    This paper evaluates the health impacts of a signature initiative of the War on Poverty: the introduction of the modern Food Stamp Program (FSP). Using variation in the month FSP began operating in each U.S. county, we find that pregnancies exposed to FSP three months prior to birth yielded deliveries with increased birth weight, with the largest gains at the lowest birth weights. We also find small but statistically insignificant improvements in neonatal mortality. We conclude that the sizable increase in income from FSP improved birth outcomes for both whites and African Americans, with larger impacts for African American mothers. (author abstract)

    This article is based on a working paper published by the Institute for Research on Poverty at the University of Wisconsin.

    This paper evaluates the health impacts of a signature initiative of the War on Poverty: the introduction of the modern Food Stamp Program (FSP). Using variation in the month FSP began operating in each U.S. county, we find that pregnancies exposed to FSP three months prior to birth yielded deliveries with increased birth weight, with the largest gains at the lowest birth weights. We also find small but statistically insignificant improvements in neonatal mortality. We conclude that the sizable increase in income from FSP improved birth outcomes for both whites and African Americans, with larger impacts for African American mothers. (author abstract)

    This article is based on a working paper published by the Institute for Research on Poverty at the University of Wisconsin.

  • Individual Author: Kalil, Ariel
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2010

    Objectives.  We aim to understand why blacks are significantly less likely than whites to perpetuate their middle class status across generations. To do so, we focus on the potentially different associations between parental job loss and youth’s education al attainment in black and white middle class families.  

    Methods. We use data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID), following those children “born” into the survey between 1968 and 1979 and followed through age 21.  We conduct multivariate regression analyses to test the association between parental job loss during childhood and youth’s educational attainment by age 21.   

    Results.  We find that parental job loss is associated with a lesser likelihood of obtaining any post-secondary education for all offspring, but that the association for blacks is almost three times as strong.  A substantial share of the differential impact of job loss on black and white middle class youth is explained by race differences in household wealth, long-run measures of family income, and, especially, parental experience of...

    Objectives.  We aim to understand why blacks are significantly less likely than whites to perpetuate their middle class status across generations. To do so, we focus on the potentially different associations between parental job loss and youth’s education al attainment in black and white middle class families.  

    Methods. We use data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID), following those children “born” into the survey between 1968 and 1979 and followed through age 21.  We conduct multivariate regression analyses to test the association between parental job loss during childhood and youth’s educational attainment by age 21.   

    Results.  We find that parental job loss is associated with a lesser likelihood of obtaining any post-secondary education for all offspring, but that the association for blacks is almost three times as strong.  A substantial share of the differential impact of job loss on black and white middle class youth is explained by race differences in household wealth, long-run measures of family income, and, especially, parental experience of long-term unemployment. 

    Conclusions.  These findings highlight the fragile economic foundation of the black middle-class and suggest that intergenerational persistence of class status in this population may be highly dependent on the avoidance of common economic shocks. (author abstract)

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