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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: Brocksen, Sally M.
    Reference Type: Thesis
    Year: 2006

    This project employed a descriptive case study methodology guided by rational choice theory to examine the financial feasibility of marriage for low income women. By modeling the income and expenses of eight different low income family types in six states (Arizona, California, New York, Oklahoma, Virginia, and Wisconsin) this study illustrates the financial situation of various low income families. The family types under investigation include: a single parent family, a family receiving TANF, cohabiting couple with two wage earners, cohabiting couple with one wage earner, a married family with two wage earners, a married couple with one wage earner, a unmarried couple with an infant (unmarried fragile family), and a married couple with an infant (married fragile family). The income of each family type was calculated at two different wage levels (minimum and low wage for each state under investigation). Income included the welfare benefits and subsidies each of the family's is likely to receive (including child care subsidies and tax credits). The expenses of each family were...

    This project employed a descriptive case study methodology guided by rational choice theory to examine the financial feasibility of marriage for low income women. By modeling the income and expenses of eight different low income family types in six states (Arizona, California, New York, Oklahoma, Virginia, and Wisconsin) this study illustrates the financial situation of various low income families. The family types under investigation include: a single parent family, a family receiving TANF, cohabiting couple with two wage earners, cohabiting couple with one wage earner, a married family with two wage earners, a married couple with one wage earner, a unmarried couple with an infant (unmarried fragile family), and a married couple with an infant (married fragile family). The income of each family type was calculated at two different wage levels (minimum and low wage for each state under investigation). Income included the welfare benefits and subsidies each of the family's is likely to receive (including child care subsidies and tax credits). The expenses of each family were calculated based on the size of the family and the cost of expenses such as housing and food expenditures. This study found that of the models presented here married families are not always financially better off when compared to single parent and cohabiting families. These findings demonstrate that if policy makers wish to support marriage among low income families they should first make marriage financially feasible for unmarried couples (particularly cohabiting couples) and create greater economic stability for couples that are already married. By providing consistent work supports (e.g. child care and health insurance), expanding programs that help low income families (such as the Earned Income Tax Credit), creating poverty measures that accurately reflect the real situation of low income families, and increasing the wages of low income workers, policy makers will create an environment where it is financially feasible for low income couples to marry and remain married. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Ha, Yoonsook
    Reference Type: Thesis
    Year: 2008

    Despite the increased importance and magnitude of child care subsidies since welfare reform, it is still questionable whether child care subsidies constitute a reliable source of work support. Indeed, policymakers and researchers have expressed concern that few eligible mothers have actually used child care subsidies (ranging from 15 to 40 percent across various states between 1997 and 2000; see Meyers, Heintze, & Wolf, 2002; Witte & Queralt, 2002; Acs & Loprest, 2004; Lee, et al., 2004 for take-up studies). Even mothers who have used child care subsidies typically receive them for only a short time period (average 3-6 months) (Meyers, et al, 2002). Moreover, little evidence is available to help explain what factors are associated with the stability of child care subsidy use. In addition, very little is known about whether utilizing child care subsidies contributes to the economic well-being of families or leads to self-sufficiency.

    My dissertation research attempts to address these empirical gaps. I utilize Wisconsin longitudinal administrative data on two...

    Despite the increased importance and magnitude of child care subsidies since welfare reform, it is still questionable whether child care subsidies constitute a reliable source of work support. Indeed, policymakers and researchers have expressed concern that few eligible mothers have actually used child care subsidies (ranging from 15 to 40 percent across various states between 1997 and 2000; see Meyers, Heintze, & Wolf, 2002; Witte & Queralt, 2002; Acs & Loprest, 2004; Lee, et al., 2004 for take-up studies). Even mothers who have used child care subsidies typically receive them for only a short time period (average 3-6 months) (Meyers, et al, 2002). Moreover, little evidence is available to help explain what factors are associated with the stability of child care subsidy use. In addition, very little is known about whether utilizing child care subsidies contributes to the economic well-being of families or leads to self-sufficiency.

    My dissertation research attempts to address these empirical gaps. I utilize Wisconsin longitudinal administrative data on two cohorts of child care subsidy users. The first cohort of subsidy users includes mothers who entered Wisconsin's TANF (Wisconsin Works) program during 1997 and 1998 and began receiving child care subsidies during the same period of time. The second cohort contains all mothers who applied for subsidies in Wisconsin in 2000. Using the two cohorts of subsidy recipients, this research examines the dynamics of child care subsidy use, factors related to stable subsidy receipt, and the relationship between subsidy receipts and the earnings of low-income mothers. (author introduction)

  • Individual Author: Gezinski, Lindsay Blair
    Reference Type: Thesis
    Year: 2011

    With the passage of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) in 1996, Congress ended “welfare as we know it” and formally adopted a workfare approach. However, families continue to be trapped in the “low-wage ghetto”. Therefore, research is needed that investigates effective routes out of poverty. Studies have found that welfare recipients with higher educational attainment work more and earn significantly higher income than those with lower educational attainment. However, very little research exists around the relationship between social capital and labor force participation.

    Four research questions guided this study: (1) How do demographic variables affect social capital and human capital among single women who use welfare? (2) How do social capital and human capital affect employment outcome? (3) Do social capital and human capital act as mediators between demographic variables and employment outcome? (4) How do macro-level variables (i.e., city unemployment rate and state TANF policy) affect employment outcome?

    This study...

    With the passage of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) in 1996, Congress ended “welfare as we know it” and formally adopted a workfare approach. However, families continue to be trapped in the “low-wage ghetto”. Therefore, research is needed that investigates effective routes out of poverty. Studies have found that welfare recipients with higher educational attainment work more and earn significantly higher income than those with lower educational attainment. However, very little research exists around the relationship between social capital and labor force participation.

    Four research questions guided this study: (1) How do demographic variables affect social capital and human capital among single women who use welfare? (2) How do social capital and human capital affect employment outcome? (3) Do social capital and human capital act as mediators between demographic variables and employment outcome? (4) How do macro-level variables (i.e., city unemployment rate and state TANF policy) affect employment outcome?

    This study analyzed Wave 2 (2005-2007) data from the Making Connections Cross-Site Survey database. 1,428 women with no spouse/partner present in the household who indicated use of a TANF/welfare office in the last 12 months were selected for inclusion in the study sample. An exploratory factor analysis was conducted to extract factors that underlie the social capital construct and to identify the indicators that were associated with each of those factors. Five social capital factors emerged: support giving social capital, bonding social capital, bridging social capital, value sharing social capital, and support receiving social capital. Structural equation modeling was used to answer the major research questions in this study. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Nuñez, Stephen Charles
    Reference Type: Thesis
    Year: 2011

    In this dissertation, I explore the role of values and moral judgments in credit markets. I focus on the frequenting of “fringe banks,” controversial institutions that serve those who have limited access to mainstream credit markets as a result of poverty and/or poor/no credit history. Among other intriguing results, I find compelling evidence that there are persistent statistical differences in payday and pawn loan usage across racial and ethnic groups that cannot be explained by disparities in wealth and credit access. Instead, I argue that they are the result of variations in the perception of the propriety of such loans, variations that have their root in the legacy of racial discrimination in mainstream credit markets in the United States. To make this case, I utilize both quantitative and qualitative data as well as a variety of novel statistical techniques. I analyze cross-site multi-wave survey data collected by The Center for Community Capital, The National Opinion Research Center and The Annie E. Casey Foundation. I strengthen my argument by drawing on excellent focus...

    In this dissertation, I explore the role of values and moral judgments in credit markets. I focus on the frequenting of “fringe banks,” controversial institutions that serve those who have limited access to mainstream credit markets as a result of poverty and/or poor/no credit history. Among other intriguing results, I find compelling evidence that there are persistent statistical differences in payday and pawn loan usage across racial and ethnic groups that cannot be explained by disparities in wealth and credit access. Instead, I argue that they are the result of variations in the perception of the propriety of such loans, variations that have their root in the legacy of racial discrimination in mainstream credit markets in the United States. To make this case, I utilize both quantitative and qualitative data as well as a variety of novel statistical techniques. I analyze cross-site multi-wave survey data collected by The Center for Community Capital, The National Opinion Research Center and The Annie E. Casey Foundation. I strengthen my argument by drawing on excellent focus group data supplied by The Center for Community Capital and The Center for Responsible Lending. This study represents a unique contribution to the sociology of credit and finance and demonstrates the importance of synthesizing structural and cultural approaches to the study of economic activity. (author abstract)

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