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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: McKernan, Signe-Mary; Ratcliffe, Caroline; Shanks, Trina Williams
    Reference Type: Stakeholder Resource
    Year: 2012

    Can the poor accumulate assets? Longitudinal data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics and programs targeted at helping families accumulate assets provide empirical evidence that they can. Following families over a 13-year period reveals that, even among those poor more than half the time, over 40 percent increased their net worth. And following low-income, asset-poor families over time revealed that 12 years later 44 percent saved enough to escape asset poverty. This shows that across the life course a substantial proportion of poor and low-income families do manage to accumulate assets. (author abstract)

    Can the poor accumulate assets? Longitudinal data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics and programs targeted at helping families accumulate assets provide empirical evidence that they can. Following families over a 13-year period reveals that, even among those poor more than half the time, over 40 percent increased their net worth. And following low-income, asset-poor families over time revealed that 12 years later 44 percent saved enough to escape asset poverty. This shows that across the life course a substantial proportion of poor and low-income families do manage to accumulate assets. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Sherraden, Michael
    Reference Type: Book Chapter/Book
    Year: 2005

    This book is about inclusion in the American dream of asset holding and how public policy might promote and facilitate that dream for everyone, at every income level and of every color.  The book examines patterns of saving and asset accumulation in multiple policy and program settings, as well as potential impacts of asset holding.  Theoretical, measurement, and empirical issues are addressed, as is design of inclusive asset-based policies.  The final chapters address critical questions regarding inclusion in asset-based policies and challenges for knowledge building (author abstract).

    This book is about inclusion in the American dream of asset holding and how public policy might promote and facilitate that dream for everyone, at every income level and of every color.  The book examines patterns of saving and asset accumulation in multiple policy and program settings, as well as potential impacts of asset holding.  Theoretical, measurement, and empirical issues are addressed, as is design of inclusive asset-based policies.  The final chapters address critical questions regarding inclusion in asset-based policies and challenges for knowledge building (author abstract).

  • Individual Author: Leonard, Tammy; Di, Wenhua
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2012

    In order to be successful at improving household's financial self-sufficiency and stability, asset-building policies must be designed to prevent households from falling back into asset poverty once they exit it. This paper uses the Panel Study of Income Dynamics data from 1994 to 2007 to analyze the influence of life events, demographics and financial behaviors on the duration out of asset poverty. We find evidence that suggests there are structural barriers to asset acquisition. Asset accumulation at levels equal to nine months worth of income at the income poverty level or greater is important for improving a family's odds of permanently escaping asset poverty. Additionally, minimizing debt and diversifying the asset portfolio to include more productive assets are important for maintaining assets. This paper provides some insights on policies to help individuals more successfully transition out of asset poverty. (author abstract)

    In order to be successful at improving household's financial self-sufficiency and stability, asset-building policies must be designed to prevent households from falling back into asset poverty once they exit it. This paper uses the Panel Study of Income Dynamics data from 1994 to 2007 to analyze the influence of life events, demographics and financial behaviors on the duration out of asset poverty. We find evidence that suggests there are structural barriers to asset acquisition. Asset accumulation at levels equal to nine months worth of income at the income poverty level or greater is important for improving a family's odds of permanently escaping asset poverty. Additionally, minimizing debt and diversifying the asset portfolio to include more productive assets are important for maintaining assets. This paper provides some insights on policies to help individuals more successfully transition out of asset poverty. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Ratcliffe, Caroline
    Reference Type: Stakeholder Resource
    Year: 2013

    What percent of families are asset poor—lack sufficient resources to live at the poverty line for three months —and why does asset poverty matter? A third of U.S. families are liquid asset poor and these families are disproportionately minority, young, and low-income. A lack of assets threatens families' ability to weather adverse events. After experiencing an involuntary job loss, asset-poor families are nearly three times more likely to experience hardship than non-asset-poor families. These large differences exist across the income spectrum—for low-, middle-, and high-income families. (author abstract)

    What percent of families are asset poor—lack sufficient resources to live at the poverty line for three months —and why does asset poverty matter? A third of U.S. families are liquid asset poor and these families are disproportionately minority, young, and low-income. A lack of assets threatens families' ability to weather adverse events. After experiencing an involuntary job loss, asset-poor families are nearly three times more likely to experience hardship than non-asset-poor families. These large differences exist across the income spectrum—for low-, middle-, and high-income families. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Nembhard, Jessica Gordon
    Reference Type: Stakeholder Resource
    Year: 2008

    McKernan and Ratcliffe’s paper highlights the need to change budget priorities and focus more on helping low-income families gain assets. The authors’ engaging analysis is particularly important for policymakers as well as policy analysts, contributing to what we know about asset building among the low income, consequences of the problem, and potential policy solutions. Their cost-benefits analysis is particularly effective because often policy development and implementation-enforcement are a compromise between budget priorities and values, without rigorous evaluation. This is a thoughtful, practical proposal of how to extend traditional asset policies to low-income households.

    While ambitious along traditional lines, McKernan and Ratcliffe’s policy agenda proposes minimal moral imperatives but some pragmatic policies that have a chance of being supported in this political climate (though would still be considered by some to be too proactive and interventionist). Research and practice suggest that this is not enough to pull low-income households out of debt and into asset...

    McKernan and Ratcliffe’s paper highlights the need to change budget priorities and focus more on helping low-income families gain assets. The authors’ engaging analysis is particularly important for policymakers as well as policy analysts, contributing to what we know about asset building among the low income, consequences of the problem, and potential policy solutions. Their cost-benefits analysis is particularly effective because often policy development and implementation-enforcement are a compromise between budget priorities and values, without rigorous evaluation. This is a thoughtful, practical proposal of how to extend traditional asset policies to low-income households.

    While ambitious along traditional lines, McKernan and Ratcliffe’s policy agenda proposes minimal moral imperatives but some pragmatic policies that have a chance of being supported in this political climate (though would still be considered by some to be too proactive and interventionist). Research and practice suggest that this is not enough to pull low-income households out of debt and into asset stability. By focusing on increasing savings levels and vehicle ownership among low-income families, McKernan and Ratcliffe do not sufficiently address the consumption needs and constraints, and savings limitations on low-income people. They also do not disaggregate their policy analyses or prescriptions by race or gender. The low income are not a homogeneous group, though most face similar constraints. McKernan and Ratcliffe’s policy menu, therefore, is missing additional strategies, such as collective ownership, to remedy such challenges as income and savings constraints, institutional racism, and racial and gender discrimination.(author introduction)

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