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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: Dehejia, Rajeev H.; Wahba, Sadek
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 1999

    This article uses propensity score methods to estimate the treatment impact of the National Supported Work (NSW) Demonstration, a labor training program, on postintervention earnings. We use data from Lalonde's evaluation of nonexperimental methods that combine the treated units from a randomized evaluation of the NSW with nonexperimental comparison units drawn from survey datasets. We apply propensity score methods to this composite dataset and demonstrate that, relative to the estimators that Lalonde evaluates, propensity score estimates of the treatment impact are much closer to the experimental benchmark estimate. Propensity score methods assume that the variables associated with assignment to treatment are observed (referred to as ignorable treatment assignment, or selection on observables). Even under this assumption, it is difficult to control for differences between the treatment and comparison groups when they are dissimilar and when there are many preintervention variables. The estimated propensity score (the probability of assignment to treatment, conditional on...

    This article uses propensity score methods to estimate the treatment impact of the National Supported Work (NSW) Demonstration, a labor training program, on postintervention earnings. We use data from Lalonde's evaluation of nonexperimental methods that combine the treated units from a randomized evaluation of the NSW with nonexperimental comparison units drawn from survey datasets. We apply propensity score methods to this composite dataset and demonstrate that, relative to the estimators that Lalonde evaluates, propensity score estimates of the treatment impact are much closer to the experimental benchmark estimate. Propensity score methods assume that the variables associated with assignment to treatment are observed (referred to as ignorable treatment assignment, or selection on observables). Even under this assumption, it is difficult to control for differences between the treatment and comparison groups when they are dissimilar and when there are many preintervention variables. The estimated propensity score (the probability of assignment to treatment, conditional on preintervention variables) summarizes the preintervention variables. This offers a diagnostic on the comparability of the treatment and comparison groups, because one has only to compare the estimated propensity score across the two groups. We discuss several methods (such as stratification and matching) that use the propensity score to estimate the treatment impact. When the range of estimated propensity scores of the treatment and comparison groups overlap, these methods can estimate the treatment impact for the treatment group. A sensitivity analysis shows that our estimates are not sensitive to the specification of the estimated propensity score, but are sensitive to the assumption of selection on observables. We conclude that when the treatment and comparison groups overlap, and when the variables determining assignment to treatment are observed, these methods provide a means to estimate the treatment impact. Even though propensity score methods are not always applicable, they offer a diagnostic on the quality of nonexperimental comparison groups in terms of observable preintervention variables. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Clark, Robin E.; Dain, Bradley, J.; Xie, Haiyi; Becker, Deborah R.; Drake, Robert E.
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 1998

    Background: Policies and programs that emphasize employment for persons with mental illness are often promoted with the goals of improving economic self-sufficiency and reducing dependence on public welfare programs. At present, there is little empirical evidence about the actual effect of vocational interventions on economic self-sufficiency or on use of public benefits by persons with mental illness.
    
    Study Aims: This study provides a preliminary look at how participating in supported employment, a form of vocational rehabilitation emphasizing ongoing support in competitive jobs, affects the amount that participants earn from work and the total amount of income they receive from all sources. Further, we examine the extent to which receiving public benefits affects the amount earned from private employment, taking into consideration other factors that might be associated with benefit status.
    
    Methods: Data are from a randomized trial of supported employment interventions. This analysis followed 137 of those study...

    Background: Policies and programs that emphasize employment for persons with mental illness are often promoted with the goals of improving economic self-sufficiency and reducing dependence on public welfare programs. At present, there is little empirical evidence about the actual effect of vocational interventions on economic self-sufficiency or on use of public benefits by persons with mental illness.
    
    Study Aims: This study provides a preliminary look at how participating in supported employment, a form of vocational rehabilitation emphasizing ongoing support in competitive jobs, affects the amount that participants earn from work and the total amount of income they receive from all sources. Further, we examine the extent to which receiving public benefits affects the amount earned from private employment, taking into consideration other factors that might be associated with benefit status.
    
    Methods: Data are from a randomized trial of supported employment interventions. This analysis followed 137 of those study participants with severe mental illness for 18 months after they enrolled in either of two supported employment programs. Income from various sources was estimated based on interviews with study participants upon study entry and at six-month intervals thereafter. Changes in income from work, government and other sources were analyzed using paired Wilcoxon matched-pairs signed-ranks tests and t-tests. Using ordinary least-squares regression, we analyzed the effect of benefit status on changes in earnings, taking into account diagnosis, work history, education, program type, site of program, psychiatric symptoms, global functioning and previous earnings.
    
    Results: Estimated total income increased by an average of $134 (US) per month after enrolling in supported employment. More than three-quarters of this increase was from government sources, such as Social Security and educational grants. The increase in government income was largely due to participants applying for and getting cash benefits for the first time. Social Security payments for those receiving benefits before enrollment did not change significantly. A small group of persons (n = 22) who did not receive Social Security benefits before or after enrollment earned significantly more from competitive employment after enrolling than did those who received benefits. This finding persisted after taking into account differences in work history, clinical and functional variables and education.
    
    Limitations: Because of the relatively small sample size and the lack of continuous measures of income these results should be considered preliminary.
    
    Conclusions: Supported employment, one of the more effective forms of vocational rehabilitation for persons with mental illness, did not reduce dependence on government support. Receiving government benefits was associated with lower earnings from work.
    
    Implications for Health Care Provision and Use: These findings suggest that most persons in treatment for severe mental illness need continued public financial support even after enrolling in vocational rehabilitation programs.
    
    Implications for Health Policy Formulation: Undoubtedly increased labor force participation can benefit persons with mental illness in a number of ways. However, policy makers should be careful about justifying increased access to vocational programs on the basis of reduced spending for income support. Further, targeting such programs only to persons receiving income support may overlook the clients who can benefit most: those who are not currently receiving benefits.
    
    Implications for Further Research: Policy makers need a better understanding of how vocational interventions and income support programs affect the income and well-being of persons with mental illness. Studies similar to this one should be repeated with larger, more diverse samples that will allow use of instrumental variables statistical techniques. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Huston, Aletha C.; Gupta, Anjali E.; Walker, Jessica Thornton; Dowsett, Chantelle J.; Epps, Sylvia R.; Imes, Amy E.; McLoyd, Vonnie C.
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2011

    New Hope, an employment-based poverty-reduction intervention for adults evaluated in a random-assignment experimental design, had positive impacts on children's achievement and social behavior two and five years after random assignment. The question addressed in this paper was the following: Did the positive effects of New Hope on younger children diminish or even reverse when children reached the challenges of adolescence (eight years after random assignment)? Small positive impacts on school progress, school motivation, positive social behavior, child well-being, and parent control endured, but impacts on school achievement and problem behavior were no longer evident. The most likely reasons for lasting impacts were that New Hope families were slightly less likely to be poor, and children had spent more time in center-based child care and structured activities. New Hope represents a model policy that could produce modest improvements in the lives of low-income adults and children. (author abstract)

    New Hope, an employment-based poverty-reduction intervention for adults evaluated in a random-assignment experimental design, had positive impacts on children's achievement and social behavior two and five years after random assignment. The question addressed in this paper was the following: Did the positive effects of New Hope on younger children diminish or even reverse when children reached the challenges of adolescence (eight years after random assignment)? Small positive impacts on school progress, school motivation, positive social behavior, child well-being, and parent control endured, but impacts on school achievement and problem behavior were no longer evident. The most likely reasons for lasting impacts were that New Hope families were slightly less likely to be poor, and children had spent more time in center-based child care and structured activities. New Hope represents a model policy that could produce modest improvements in the lives of low-income adults and children. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Mallon, Anthony J.; Stevens, Guy V. G.
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2011

    Policy makers often tout the finding that Temporary Assistance for Needy Families caseloads have shrunk by 50% or more since the passage of the 1996 welfare reform act (Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunities Reconciliation Act). Less well publicized is the economic fate of these “welfare leavers.” Extensive evidence shows that, despite the fact that as many as 60% exit with a full-time job, within a year or two approximately one half of all welfare leavers—and their children—fall into poverty. These findings predate the current severe recession; the economic status of current and past welfare leavers is undoubtedly much worse today. The proximate cause of this high rate of poverty is that welfare leavers end up working, on average, too few hours over the course of a year. Behind these low hours are the more fundamental causes of the measurable “barriers to work” limiting many leavers, and the limited supply of appropriate private-sector jobs, even during the so-called full-employment years of the late 1990s. In a search for solutions to this problem, this article examines...

    Policy makers often tout the finding that Temporary Assistance for Needy Families caseloads have shrunk by 50% or more since the passage of the 1996 welfare reform act (Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunities Reconciliation Act). Less well publicized is the economic fate of these “welfare leavers.” Extensive evidence shows that, despite the fact that as many as 60% exit with a full-time job, within a year or two approximately one half of all welfare leavers—and their children—fall into poverty. These findings predate the current severe recession; the economic status of current and past welfare leavers is undoubtedly much worse today. The proximate cause of this high rate of poverty is that welfare leavers end up working, on average, too few hours over the course of a year. Behind these low hours are the more fundamental causes of the measurable “barriers to work” limiting many leavers, and the limited supply of appropriate private-sector jobs, even during the so-called full-employment years of the late 1990s. In a search for solutions to this problem, this article examines the design, costs, and effects of a large number of job creation/welfare-to-work programs. Using these results, we propose a program of jobs of last resort called Promise of a Job (POJ). The authors outline the structure of POJ, provide costs estimates per participant and for its national implementation, and simulate its impact on poverty rates. Depending on assumptions such as the eligibility requirements and the rate at which participants are placed in full-time jobs, some simulations show dramatic reductions in the rates of adult and, especially, children's poverty. (author abstract)

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

  • Individual Author: Lifshitz, Chen Chana
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2017

    Recent studies indicate that the transition from school to work is a critical juncture in shaping the professional future of youth at risk. This period may thus serve as a window of opportunities for fostering employability among these youths and, thereby, for promoting their social mobility. However, systematic evaluations of intervention programs aimed at fostering employability among at-risk adolescents—and especially in a multi-cultural context—are relatively few. The current study describes the strengths and weaknesses of a pilot, nation-wide, multi-cultural, holistic intervention program, aimed at fostering employability among at-risk adolescents before they actually enter the labor market. The program integrated efforts in three main domains: cultivating work-related skills, fostering personal and interpersonal skills, and providing a supportive personal and group climate. During the years 2011–2013, the program was operated in 40 localities in Israel and in three culturally different sectors: The Jewish-Israeli majority sector in the periphery, the Ultra-Orthodox Jewish...

    Recent studies indicate that the transition from school to work is a critical juncture in shaping the professional future of youth at risk. This period may thus serve as a window of opportunities for fostering employability among these youths and, thereby, for promoting their social mobility. However, systematic evaluations of intervention programs aimed at fostering employability among at-risk adolescents—and especially in a multi-cultural context—are relatively few. The current study describes the strengths and weaknesses of a pilot, nation-wide, multi-cultural, holistic intervention program, aimed at fostering employability among at-risk adolescents before they actually enter the labor market. The program integrated efforts in three main domains: cultivating work-related skills, fostering personal and interpersonal skills, and providing a supportive personal and group climate. During the years 2011–2013, the program was operated in 40 localities in Israel and in three culturally different sectors: The Jewish-Israeli majority sector in the periphery, the Ultra-Orthodox Jewish minority sector, and the Israeli-Arab (Muslim) minority sector. The current study describes the results of an evaluation study that accompanied the implementation of the program in nine representative localities (117 adolescents, ages 14–19) during 2012. (Author abstract)

     

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