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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: Fraker, Thomas M.; Levy, Dan M.; Perez-Johnson, Irma; Hershey, Alan M.; Nightingale, Demetra S.; Olsen, Robert B.; Stapulonis, Rita A.
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2004

    This final report presents descriptive findings from Mathematica's study of enrollees during the two years after they entered a welfare-to-work program. Most were TANF recipients with significant barriers to employment; although most were employed at some time during the study, many faced employment problems at the end of that period, and the jobs they held often left them in poverty. Whether a more comprehensive approach would produce better results is unclear, but the report presents design and implementation factors for programs to consider. (Author abstract)

    This final report presents descriptive findings from Mathematica's study of enrollees during the two years after they entered a welfare-to-work program. Most were TANF recipients with significant barriers to employment; although most were employed at some time during the study, many faced employment problems at the end of that period, and the jobs they held often left them in poverty. Whether a more comprehensive approach would produce better results is unclear, but the report presents design and implementation factors for programs to consider. (Author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Rangarajan, Anu
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 1996

    To collect information about employment paths out of welfare and to test innovative ways to promote job retention, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) initiated the Post-employment Services Demonstration (PESD). Newly employed welfare recipients in four sites were identified and enrolled in the demonstration. Individuals were assigned at random to an enhanced-services group (program group) or to a regular-services group (control group). Those in the program group had a case manager who helped identify their needs and provided special services to promote job retention. They also provided rapid re-employment services for those who lost jobs. Using qualitative data from focus groups with clients, staff interviews, and client case files, we examined the experiences of newly employed welfare recipients during their transition from welfare to work. Like other single parents who find work, welfare recipients experience many new situations and difficulties. They have to find affordable and reliable child care and transportation, budget for new work expenses, and meet...

    To collect information about employment paths out of welfare and to test innovative ways to promote job retention, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) initiated the Post-employment Services Demonstration (PESD). Newly employed welfare recipients in four sites were identified and enrolled in the demonstration. Individuals were assigned at random to an enhanced-services group (program group) or to a regular-services group (control group). Those in the program group had a case manager who helped identify their needs and provided special services to promote job retention. They also provided rapid re-employment services for those who lost jobs. Using qualitative data from focus groups with clients, staff interviews, and client case files, we examined the experiences of newly employed welfare recipients during their transition from welfare to work. Like other single parents who find work, welfare recipients experience many new situations and difficulties. They have to find affordable and reliable child care and transportation, budget for new work expenses, and meet the new demands of the workplace. In addition, welfare mothers often have to deal with new income reporting and accounting rules to continue to receive welfare and other benefits, including transitional child care and transitional Medicaid. Many welfare recipients also find low-paying entry-level positions in occupations with irregular hours or shifts that change to accommodate fluctuating workloads. These circumstances complicate child care and budgeting challenges. Compounding these new demands, many welfare recipients have little in the way of a social support network to help them weather some of the crises that affect their ability to hold a job. In fact, many welfare recipients report that friends and families undermine their efforts to attain self-sufficiency through work. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Bertrand, Marianne; Morse, Adair
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2009

    A number of influential papers find substantial consumption out of tax rebates, with evidence pointing to an important role for liquidity constraints. Sumit Agarwal, Chunlin Liu, and Souleles (2007) directly test the importance of liquidity constraints among credit card borrowers receiving rebates; they find that those most likely to be liquidity constrained show the largest increase in credit card spending from the rebate check. The evidence that constrained individuals are big tax rebate spenders is important for fiscal policy, but also raises questions about the underlying behavioral responses. In particular, many individuals rely on expensive debt, and the lifetime (time-consistent) utility cost from spending rather than paying off such debt can be quite large. This point is particularly relevant for the group of borrowers we consider in this paper, payday loan customers, for whom the cost of marginal debt is extremely high (over 400 percent in APR). (author abstract)

    This article is based on a...

    A number of influential papers find substantial consumption out of tax rebates, with evidence pointing to an important role for liquidity constraints. Sumit Agarwal, Chunlin Liu, and Souleles (2007) directly test the importance of liquidity constraints among credit card borrowers receiving rebates; they find that those most likely to be liquidity constrained show the largest increase in credit card spending from the rebate check. The evidence that constrained individuals are big tax rebate spenders is important for fiscal policy, but also raises questions about the underlying behavioral responses. In particular, many individuals rely on expensive debt, and the lifetime (time-consistent) utility cost from spending rather than paying off such debt can be quite large. This point is particularly relevant for the group of borrowers we consider in this paper, payday loan customers, for whom the cost of marginal debt is extremely high (over 400 percent in APR). (author abstract)

    This article is based on a working paper published by the National Poverty Center at the University of Michigan.

  • Individual Author: Smeeding, Timothy M.; Ross, Katherin E.; O’Connor, Michael
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2000

    This paper presents initial findings on the economic impact of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) based on a sample of Chicago area households that filed tax returns in the spring of 1998. Respondents reported on their detailed use of the funds to pay bills, purchase new items, or save. Asset information on the households was also gathered, along with questions regarding the ability of households to make particular expenditures without the help of the EITC. Uses of the EITC are divided into those that improve social mobility (e.g., purchase a car, pay tuition, change housing) and those that primarily help to make ends meet (e.g., pay routine bills, purchase food) and determinants of each are explored in a regression framework. The paper also explores the relationship among the financial system, asset and borrowing status, and EITC usage. Implications for tax policy and social policy are drawn in conclusion. As far as we know, this is the first research to address these issues, despite the fact that, excluding programs for the elderly and Medicaid, the EITC is our largest federal...

    This paper presents initial findings on the economic impact of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) based on a sample of Chicago area households that filed tax returns in the spring of 1998. Respondents reported on their detailed use of the funds to pay bills, purchase new items, or save. Asset information on the households was also gathered, along with questions regarding the ability of households to make particular expenditures without the help of the EITC. Uses of the EITC are divided into those that improve social mobility (e.g., purchase a car, pay tuition, change housing) and those that primarily help to make ends meet (e.g., pay routine bills, purchase food) and determinants of each are explored in a regression framework. The paper also explores the relationship among the financial system, asset and borrowing status, and EITC usage. Implications for tax policy and social policy are drawn in conclusion. As far as we know, this is the first research to address these issues, despite the fact that, excluding programs for the elderly and Medicaid, the EITC is our largest federal entitlement program. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Hendra, Richard; Dillman, Keri-Nicole; Hamilton, Gayle; Lundquist, Erika; Martinson, Karin; Wavelet, Melissa; Hill, Aaron; Williams, Sonya
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2010

    This report summarizes the final impact results for the national Employment Retention and Advancement (ERA) project. This project tested, using a random assignment design, the effectiveness of numerous programs intended to promote steady work and career advancement. All the programs targeted current and former welfare recipients and other low-wage workers, most of whom were single mothers. Given that earlier retention and advancement initiatives studied for these groups were largely not effective, ERA sought to examine a variety of programs that states and localities had developed for different populations, to determine whether effective strategies could be identified. In short, nine of the twelve programs examined in this report do not appear to be effective, but three programs increased employment levels, employment stability, and/or earnings, relative to control group levels, after three to four years of follow-up.

    Key Findings:

     - Out of the twelve programs included in the report, three ERA programs produced positive economic impacts; nine did not. All three...

    This report summarizes the final impact results for the national Employment Retention and Advancement (ERA) project. This project tested, using a random assignment design, the effectiveness of numerous programs intended to promote steady work and career advancement. All the programs targeted current and former welfare recipients and other low-wage workers, most of whom were single mothers. Given that earlier retention and advancement initiatives studied for these groups were largely not effective, ERA sought to examine a variety of programs that states and localities had developed for different populations, to determine whether effective strategies could be identified. In short, nine of the twelve programs examined in this report do not appear to be effective, but three programs increased employment levels, employment stability, and/or earnings, relative to control group levels, after three to four years of follow-up.

    Key Findings:

     - Out of the twelve programs included in the report, three ERA programs produced positive economic impacts; nine did not. All three programs increased employment retention and advancement. Increases in employment retention and earnings were largest and most consistent over time in the Texas ERA program in Corpus Christi (one of three sites that operated this program); the Chicago ERA program; and the Riverside County, California, Post-Assistance Self-Sufficiency (PASS) ERA program. These programs increased annual earnings by between 7 percent and 15 percent relative to control group levels. Each of them served a different target group, which suggests that employment retention and advancement programs can work for a range of populations. However, three-fourths of the ERA programs included in this report did not produce gains in targeted outcomes beyond what control group members were able to attain on their own with the existing services and supports available in the ERA sites.

     - Increases in participation beyond control group levels were not consistent or large, which may have made it difficult for the programs to achieve impacts on employment retention and advancement. Engaging individuals in employment and retention services at levels above what they would have done in the absence of the programs was a consistent challenge. In addition, staff had to spend a lot of time and resources on placing unemployed individuals back into jobs, which made it difficult for them to focus on helping those who were already working to keep their jobs or move up.

    Before the ERA project began, there was not much evidence about the types of programs that could improve employment retention and advancement outcomes for current or former welfare recipients. The ERA evaluation provides valuable insights about the nature of retention and advancement problems and it underscores a number of key implementation challenges that a program would have to address. In addition, it reveals shortcomings in a range of common approaches now in use, while identifying three distinct approaches that seem promising and worthy of further exploration. (author abstract)

     

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