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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: Cancian, Maria; Meyer, Daniel R.
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2004

    Current debates about the success of TANF reforms have been obscured by the use of inconsistent indicators of success, as well as by measurement difficulties associated with alternative indicators. This paper considers conceptual and measurement issues associated with three different indicators of economic well-being: independence from public assistance, having income above the poverty threshold, and freedom from material hardship. Survey and administrative data from a sample of TANF participants illustrate the sensitivity of conclusions to alternative ways of measuring each indicator. Also considered is the extent to which dependence, poverty, and hardship coincide, or capture important differences in outcomes. The principles underlying TANF reforms have implications for appropriate measures of economic well-being, as the empirical importance of these implications demonstrates. (author abstract)

    Current debates about the success of TANF reforms have been obscured by the use of inconsistent indicators of success, as well as by measurement difficulties associated with alternative indicators. This paper considers conceptual and measurement issues associated with three different indicators of economic well-being: independence from public assistance, having income above the poverty threshold, and freedom from material hardship. Survey and administrative data from a sample of TANF participants illustrate the sensitivity of conclusions to alternative ways of measuring each indicator. Also considered is the extent to which dependence, poverty, and hardship coincide, or capture important differences in outcomes. The principles underlying TANF reforms have implications for appropriate measures of economic well-being, as the empirical importance of these implications demonstrates. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Engelhardt, Will ; Skinner, Curtis
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2013

    To better understand poverty and find the best strategies to reduce it, states and localities need to know who is poor, why they are poor, and what policies work best for different groups. Rather than rely on the official poverty measure, in use since the early 1960s, several states and localities have taken the lead in developing new measures of poverty that more accurately account for the resources available to their residents as well as their needs. Supported by a strong body of innovative research from the federal government and public policy research organizations, these new measures not only more accurately gauge the level of poverty but offer a cost-effective way to evaluate the effectiveness of anti-poverty programs. Improved poverty measurement also helps policymakers identify effective new programs to assist vulnerable populations in meeting their families’ often-pressing needs.

    This brief provides an up-to-date look at how pioneering states and localities are using – or plan to use – improved poverty measurement to build smarter social policy. In a difficult...

    To better understand poverty and find the best strategies to reduce it, states and localities need to know who is poor, why they are poor, and what policies work best for different groups. Rather than rely on the official poverty measure, in use since the early 1960s, several states and localities have taken the lead in developing new measures of poverty that more accurately account for the resources available to their residents as well as their needs. Supported by a strong body of innovative research from the federal government and public policy research organizations, these new measures not only more accurately gauge the level of poverty but offer a cost-effective way to evaluate the effectiveness of anti-poverty programs. Improved poverty measurement also helps policymakers identify effective new programs to assist vulnerable populations in meeting their families’ often-pressing needs.

    This brief provides an up-to-date look at how pioneering states and localities are using – or plan to use – improved poverty measurement to build smarter social policy. In a difficult fiscal climate, investing in better measures to estimate poverty and evaluate the effectiveness of anti-poverty programs is sound practice that will enable policymakers to quantify whether and how interventions are improving outcomes for children and their families. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Smeeding, Timothy M.; Isaacs, Julia B.; Thornton, Katherine
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2014

    To provide a more nuanced picture of economic hardship in Wisconsin, the authors employ three different measures for estimating poverty in the state from 2008 through 2012, as shown in Figure 1. The three measures are: a measure based on market (private) income only; the Census Bureau’s official poverty measure, which considers only pre-tax but post-benefit cash income; and the Wisconsin Poverty Measure (WPM), a measure that researchers at the Institute for Research on Poverty (IRP) have developed to better reflect a comprehensive set of needs and resources in Wisconsin. (author introduction)

    To provide a more nuanced picture of economic hardship in Wisconsin, the authors employ three different measures for estimating poverty in the state from 2008 through 2012, as shown in Figure 1. The three measures are: a measure based on market (private) income only; the Census Bureau’s official poverty measure, which considers only pre-tax but post-benefit cash income; and the Wisconsin Poverty Measure (WPM), a measure that researchers at the Institute for Research on Poverty (IRP) have developed to better reflect a comprehensive set of needs and resources in Wisconsin. (author introduction)

  • Individual Author: Hetling, Andrea; Hoge, Gretchen L.; Postmus, Judy L.
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2016

    Economic self-sufficiency has emerged as a policy goal of antipoverty programs in many nations. Although the policy direction of these programs is clear, the definition and measurement of economic self-sufficiency is not. This study revisits a scale that was designed in 1993 and has experienced a growth in use after two decades of little attention. Using exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis and bivariate correlations, the scale's validity was tested with a sample of low-income survivors of intimate partner violence. The discussion focuses on how the resulting Scale of Economic Self-Sufficiency-14 (SESS-14) relates to policy, practice, and research. (Author abstract)

    Economic self-sufficiency has emerged as a policy goal of antipoverty programs in many nations. Although the policy direction of these programs is clear, the definition and measurement of economic self-sufficiency is not. This study revisits a scale that was designed in 1993 and has experienced a growth in use after two decades of little attention. Using exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis and bivariate correlations, the scale's validity was tested with a sample of low-income survivors of intimate partner violence. The discussion focuses on how the resulting Scale of Economic Self-Sufficiency-14 (SESS-14) relates to policy, practice, and research. (Author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Smeeding, Timothy M.; Thornton, Katherine A.
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2018

    Although overall employment expanded in Wisconsin during the period of this report, poverty as measured by the Wisconsin Poverty Measure (WPM) increased. In fact, overall poverty rates in Wisconsin rose significantly in 2016, to 10.8 percent compared to 9.7 in 2015. Market income poverty (which reflects employment levels and is therefore a helpful gauge of economic health) also rose slightly, even as jobs expanded.

    Both the WPM and the official poverty rate for families with children rose by significant amounts in 2016, as the child poverty rate for the WPM reached 12.0 percent, two points higher than in 2015. The WPM for children, which takes into account resources from tax credits and noncash benefits as well as earnings, remains almost 5 percentage points below the official poverty rate for children of 16.9 percent.

    While the benefits from the safety net (especially food support and refundable tax credits) played a large role in poverty reduction, changes in participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP (called FoodShare in Wisconsin)...

    Although overall employment expanded in Wisconsin during the period of this report, poverty as measured by the Wisconsin Poverty Measure (WPM) increased. In fact, overall poverty rates in Wisconsin rose significantly in 2016, to 10.8 percent compared to 9.7 in 2015. Market income poverty (which reflects employment levels and is therefore a helpful gauge of economic health) also rose slightly, even as jobs expanded.

    Both the WPM and the official poverty rate for families with children rose by significant amounts in 2016, as the child poverty rate for the WPM reached 12.0 percent, two points higher than in 2015. The WPM for children, which takes into account resources from tax credits and noncash benefits as well as earnings, remains almost 5 percentage points below the official poverty rate for children of 16.9 percent.

    While the benefits from the safety net (especially food support and refundable tax credits) played a large role in poverty reduction, changes in participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP (called FoodShare in Wisconsin) reduced these positive effects in 2016 compared to earlier years. Other trends that decreased resources over the past two years include rising childcare and other work-related expenses for families with children, and increasing medical out-of-pocket expenses, especially for the elderly. (Author abstract)

     

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