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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: Regenstein, Marsha; Meyer, Jack A.; Hicks, Jennifer Dickemper
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 1998

    While much of the welfare reform debate has centered on the supply side of the labor market-how to motivate welfare recipients to search for and take jobs-less attention has been paid to the demand side. Under what conditions will employers hire people on welfare? What are their requirements and expectations? What kinds of jobs are available to people leaving welfare, and what pay and benefits are offered?

    This brief presents the key results of a nationwide survey conducted by the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) as part of the Assessing the New Federalism project to determine employers' attitudes about hiring welfare recipients. The survey was predicated on the idea that if states have a better understanding of employers' attitudes and requirements, they will be better able to design successful approaches to moving people into jobs and helping them stay there.

    The survey included 500 businesses at the establishment level (e.g., individual stores, plants, or offices) in industries likely to have higher-than-average numbers of entry-level...

    While much of the welfare reform debate has centered on the supply side of the labor market-how to motivate welfare recipients to search for and take jobs-less attention has been paid to the demand side. Under what conditions will employers hire people on welfare? What are their requirements and expectations? What kinds of jobs are available to people leaving welfare, and what pay and benefits are offered?

    This brief presents the key results of a nationwide survey conducted by the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) as part of the Assessing the New Federalism project to determine employers' attitudes about hiring welfare recipients. The survey was predicated on the idea that if states have a better understanding of employers' attitudes and requirements, they will be better able to design successful approaches to moving people into jobs and helping them stay there.

    The survey included 500 businesses at the establishment level (e.g., individual stores, plants, or offices) in industries likely to have higher-than-average numbers of entry-level workers. The ESRI sample consists mostly of small employers with fewer than 50 workers. In order to gain insight into any potential differences in attitudes among establishments of different sizes, however, we oversampled those with 100 or more employees.

    We conducted an additional 200 interviews-100 each in Los Angeles and Milwaukee-to see how these two cities might differ from national responses. Both of these cities have large welfare populations. Milwaukee is considered a national leader in innovative welfare-to-work initiatives, while Los Angeles is a large urban area with a diverse population that includes many immigrants.

    Prior to undertaking the large national survey, we conducted a small exploratory telephone survey of 25 employers. Their responses, emerging from in-depth discussions, were very similar to the findings in the national sample. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Brauner, Sarah; Loprest, Pamela J.
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 1999

    Given welfare policies’ greater emphasis on leaving the rolls for work, interest has grown in determining how families that have left the program are faring. State and local governments, policymakers, and others want to know whether those who leave welfare ("leavers") are financially better off than when they were receiving benefits. The primary concern is whether leavers have found jobs and, if so, whether their hourly wages or hours per week are high enough to raise their families out of poverty. Policymakers and researchers would also like to know to what extent leavers are relying on other forms of federal, state, or local assistance.

    Many localities have sought to answer these questions through studies of leavers’ well-being. This brief summarizes findings on employment rates, characteristics of employment, and other determinants of well-being from 11 such studies conducted in Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Ohio (Cuyahoga County), South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin. We focus on employment because of its key role in determining welfare...

    Given welfare policies’ greater emphasis on leaving the rolls for work, interest has grown in determining how families that have left the program are faring. State and local governments, policymakers, and others want to know whether those who leave welfare ("leavers") are financially better off than when they were receiving benefits. The primary concern is whether leavers have found jobs and, if so, whether their hourly wages or hours per week are high enough to raise their families out of poverty. Policymakers and researchers would also like to know to what extent leavers are relying on other forms of federal, state, or local assistance.

    Many localities have sought to answer these questions through studies of leavers’ well-being. This brief summarizes findings on employment rates, characteristics of employment, and other determinants of well-being from 11 such studies conducted in Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Ohio (Cuyahoga County), South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin. We focus on employment because of its key role in determining welfare leavers’ economic well-being. Because of the great number and variety of "leaver studies" being undertaken, we also point out issues to consider in comparing study results.

    Numerous studies of welfare leavers have been published, and more are being released all the time. We attempted to review all publicly available studies that examine employment outcomes. Only studies that clearly described their methodology and reported survey response rates of 50 percent or higher were included. While some studies that meet these criteria may have been missed, this brief presents results from a range of reports. (author introduction)

  • Individual Author: Holzer, Harry J.; Stoll, Michael A.
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2000

    This paper uses new survey data on employers in four large metropolitan areas to examine the determinants of employer demand for welfare recipients. The results suggest a high level of demand for welfare recipients, though such demand appears fairly sensitive to business cycle conditions. A broad range of factors, including skill needs and industry, affect the prospective demand for welfare recipients among employers, while other characteristics that affect the relative supply of welfare recipients to these employers (such as location and employer use of local agencies or welfare-to-work programs) influence the extent to which such demand is realized in actual hiring. Moreover, the conditional demand for black (and to a lesser extent Hispanic) welfare recipients lags behind their representation in the welfare population and seems to be more heavily affected by employers' location and indicators of preferences than by their skill needs or overall hiring activity. Thus, a variety of factors on the demand side of the labor market continue to limit the employment options of welfare...

    This paper uses new survey data on employers in four large metropolitan areas to examine the determinants of employer demand for welfare recipients. The results suggest a high level of demand for welfare recipients, though such demand appears fairly sensitive to business cycle conditions. A broad range of factors, including skill needs and industry, affect the prospective demand for welfare recipients among employers, while other characteristics that affect the relative supply of welfare recipients to these employers (such as location and employer use of local agencies or welfare-to-work programs) influence the extent to which such demand is realized in actual hiring. Moreover, the conditional demand for black (and to a lesser extent Hispanic) welfare recipients lags behind their representation in the welfare population and seems to be more heavily affected by employers' location and indicators of preferences than by their skill needs or overall hiring activity. Thus, a variety of factors on the demand side of the labor market continue to limit the employment options of welfare recipients, especially those who are minorities. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Cancian, Maria ; Haveman, Robert; Kaplan, Thomas; Meyer, Daniel ; Rothe, Ingrid; Wolfe, Barbara; Barone, Sandra
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2000

    Welfare caseloads have fallen sharply since the passage of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PRWORA), raising questions about the post-welfare experiences of welfare leavers, including whether leavers are participating in Food Stamps and Medicaid when they are eligible for these supports. This paper describes patterns of participation in these two programs for two groups of women who left welfare in Wisconsin, those who left cash welfare in late 1995 (under early welfare reform) and those who left welfare two years later, in the early stages of implementation of Wisconsin Works (W-2), the state’s TANF program. 

    We use administrative data to examine the receipt of Food Stamps and Medicaid among those who are income-eligible at some point in the first year after exit. These take-up rates vary from 60 percent of the 1995 leavers receiving Food Stamps to 92 percent of the 1997 leavers having someone in their families receiving Medicaid. We also conduct multivariate analyses of take-up. Selected findings include: (1) the take-up of...

    Welfare caseloads have fallen sharply since the passage of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PRWORA), raising questions about the post-welfare experiences of welfare leavers, including whether leavers are participating in Food Stamps and Medicaid when they are eligible for these supports. This paper describes patterns of participation in these two programs for two groups of women who left welfare in Wisconsin, those who left cash welfare in late 1995 (under early welfare reform) and those who left welfare two years later, in the early stages of implementation of Wisconsin Works (W-2), the state’s TANF program. 

    We use administrative data to examine the receipt of Food Stamps and Medicaid among those who are income-eligible at some point in the first year after exit. These take-up rates vary from 60 percent of the 1995 leavers receiving Food Stamps to 92 percent of the 1997 leavers having someone in their families receiving Medicaid. We also conduct multivariate analyses of take-up. Selected findings include: (1) the take-up of both Medicaid and Food Stamps increased between 1995 and 1997; (2) working while still receiving cash benefits is positively associated with take-up of noncash benefits after the cash grant ends; (3) the take-up of benefits declines substantially over time even among those who remain eligible for them. We examine a longer timeframe for the 1995 leavers and find that the take-up of these benefits declines steadily over the three years. (author abstract) 

  • Individual Author: Wolfe, Barbara L.
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2000

    The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 changed the U.S. welfare system dramatically. Its primary goal was to reduce dependency by moving most of those receiving cash welfare into the work force. One tool to accomplish this objective was a change in the incentives facing actual and potential recipients. States were granted flexibility in how to accomplish this objective. This paper evaluates the program in four states in terms of efficiency and equity. It looks briefly at resulting labor force participation and incomes of those most directly affected by welfare reforms. The analysis highlights the difficulty of simultaneously providing incentives to work and incentives to increase individuals' labor market productivity while maintaining a minimal safety net and avoiding high marginal rates of taxation. None of the states studied is able to avoid a "poverty trap" in its program. The need to coordinate the benefit and withdrawal schedule of programs designed to help this population flows from the analysis. (author abstract)

    The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 changed the U.S. welfare system dramatically. Its primary goal was to reduce dependency by moving most of those receiving cash welfare into the work force. One tool to accomplish this objective was a change in the incentives facing actual and potential recipients. States were granted flexibility in how to accomplish this objective. This paper evaluates the program in four states in terms of efficiency and equity. It looks briefly at resulting labor force participation and incomes of those most directly affected by welfare reforms. The analysis highlights the difficulty of simultaneously providing incentives to work and incentives to increase individuals' labor market productivity while maintaining a minimal safety net and avoiding high marginal rates of taxation. None of the states studied is able to avoid a "poverty trap" in its program. The need to coordinate the benefit and withdrawal schedule of programs designed to help this population flows from the analysis. (author abstract)

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