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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: Ciurea, Michelle; Blain, Alexandra; DeMarco, Donna; Ly, Hong; Mills, Gregory
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2001

    This report describes the activities undertaken during Phase I of the congressionally-mandated evaluation of the Assets for Independence Act (AFIA), which Abt Associates is conducting under contract to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Act provides grants to qualified organizations to establish individual development accounts (IDAs) for low-income individuals. The savings deposited into these accounts are matched, through a combination of federal and nonfederal funds, when program participants withdraw their savings for home purchase, business capitalization, and postsecondary education.

    During the Phase I period, October 2000 through September 2001, significant progress occurred in the two components of the evaluation, the non-experimental impact study and the process study:

    • Non-experimental impact study: This research includes a multi-wave longitudinal survey of a randomly selected national sample of 600 AFIA program participants to assess the effects of program participation on low-income savings, asset accumulation, and other aspects of...

    This report describes the activities undertaken during Phase I of the congressionally-mandated evaluation of the Assets for Independence Act (AFIA), which Abt Associates is conducting under contract to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Act provides grants to qualified organizations to establish individual development accounts (IDAs) for low-income individuals. The savings deposited into these accounts are matched, through a combination of federal and nonfederal funds, when program participants withdraw their savings for home purchase, business capitalization, and postsecondary education.

    During the Phase I period, October 2000 through September 2001, significant progress occurred in the two components of the evaluation, the non-experimental impact study and the process study:

    • Non-experimental impact study: This research includes a multi-wave longitudinal survey of a randomly selected national sample of 600 AFIA program participants to assess the effects of program participation on low-income savings, asset accumulation, and other aspects of family well-being. The participant outcomes will be measured versus a comparison group of AFIA-eligible nonparticipants, using data from the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau. During Phase I, clearance from the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) was obtained for the survey of AFIA program participants.
    • Process study: This research includes site visits each year by Abt Associates staff to five or six selected AFIA programs. During these visits, interviews are conducted with program coordinators, program associates, and representatives of financial institutions to understand how programs have been implemented, how they operate, and how program features may affect participant outcomes. During Phase I, visits were conducted to five IDA programs that received AFIA funding through the initial (Fiscal Year 1999) program grants. (author introduction)
  • Individual Author: Schreiner, Mark; Clancy, Margaret; Sherraden, Michael
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2002

    The American Dream Demonstration (ADD) is the first systematic study of Individual Development Account (IDA) programs. IDAs are special accounts wherein savings are matched for the poor.

    While saving is not easy for anyone, it is more difficult for the poor because they have few resources and because they lack access to some public policy mechanisms, such as tax-benefited retirement accounts, that subsidize saving. IDAs are designed to increase savings incentives for the poor. Savings in IDAs are matched if used for home ownership, post-secondary education, microenterprise, or other approved asset uses. Participants also receive financial education and support from IDA staff.

    Do IDAs work? ADD suggests that the poor can save and accumulate assets in IDAs:

    Average monthly net deposits per participant were $19.07.

    The average participant saved about $1 for every $2 that could have been matched.

    The average participant made a deposit in about 6 of every 12 months.

    With an average match rate of about 2:1, participants accumulated...

    The American Dream Demonstration (ADD) is the first systematic study of Individual Development Account (IDA) programs. IDAs are special accounts wherein savings are matched for the poor.

    While saving is not easy for anyone, it is more difficult for the poor because they have few resources and because they lack access to some public policy mechanisms, such as tax-benefited retirement accounts, that subsidize saving. IDAs are designed to increase savings incentives for the poor. Savings in IDAs are matched if used for home ownership, post-secondary education, microenterprise, or other approved asset uses. Participants also receive financial education and support from IDA staff.

    Do IDAs work? ADD suggests that the poor can save and accumulate assets in IDAs:

    Average monthly net deposits per participant were $19.07.

    The average participant saved about $1 for every $2 that could have been matched.

    The average participant made a deposit in about 6 of every 12 months.

    With an average match rate of about 2:1, participants accumulated approximately $700 per year in IDAs. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Ciurea, Michelle; Blain, Alexandra; DeMarco, Donna; Mills, Gregory
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2002

    This report presents the findings from the second year of the process study associated with the national evaluation of the Assets for Independence Demonstration, a federal program that provides funding to individual development account (IDA) projects nationwide. The demonstration was established in 1998 through congressional enactment of the Assets for Independence Act (AFIA).

    This report describes the experiences of six AFIA projects in developing and implementing their IDA initiatives. The report contains (1) an overview of the Assets for Independence Demonstration program and the congressionally mandated national evaluation, (2) case studies of each of the six projects visited in 2002, and (3) a cross-site assessment of promising practices and other lessons learned.(author summary)

    This report presents the findings from the second year of the process study associated with the national evaluation of the Assets for Independence Demonstration, a federal program that provides funding to individual development account (IDA) projects nationwide. The demonstration was established in 1998 through congressional enactment of the Assets for Independence Act (AFIA).

    This report describes the experiences of six AFIA projects in developing and implementing their IDA initiatives. The report contains (1) an overview of the Assets for Independence Demonstration program and the congressionally mandated national evaluation, (2) case studies of each of the six projects visited in 2002, and (3) a cross-site assessment of promising practices and other lessons learned.(author summary)

  • Individual Author: Hamersma, Sarah
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2005

    Over the past ten years, public assistance programs have encouraged labor force participation as a route to self-sufficiency. The 1996 Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA, or "welfare reform") and significant expansions in the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) created the largest and most studied changes in the work incentives of the poor. However, some smaller programs that may also affect employment among the poor have been largely ignored in the policy discussion. The Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC), introduced in 1996, offers generous subsidies to firms that hire disadvantaged workers, including certain welfare recipients, food stamp recipients, people with disabilities, and others. The similar Welfare-to-Work (WtW) tax credit, implemented in 1998, offers firms potentially larger subsidies for hiring long-term welfare recipients. Although these programs are much smaller than cash assistance or the EITC, the tax credits totaled nearly $500 million in fiscal year 2003 according to the Office of Management and Budget (2005).

    The policy...

    Over the past ten years, public assistance programs have encouraged labor force participation as a route to self-sufficiency. The 1996 Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA, or "welfare reform") and significant expansions in the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) created the largest and most studied changes in the work incentives of the poor. However, some smaller programs that may also affect employment among the poor have been largely ignored in the policy discussion. The Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC), introduced in 1996, offers generous subsidies to firms that hire disadvantaged workers, including certain welfare recipients, food stamp recipients, people with disabilities, and others. The similar Welfare-to-Work (WtW) tax credit, implemented in 1998, offers firms potentially larger subsidies for hiring long-term welfare recipients. Although these programs are much smaller than cash assistance or the EITC, the tax credits totaled nearly $500 million in fiscal year 2003 according to the Office of Management and Budget (2005).

    The policy goal of the WOTC and WtW is to improve job prospects for individuals who face barriers to employment or are in hard-to-employ groups. While workers may respond to direct subsidies like the EITC by seeking a job, there is concern that employers may still be unwilling to hire some of these workers due to their lack of experience or qualifications. The WOTC and WtW are designed to provide incentives for employers to hire such workers.

    This brief provides some policy background on employer subsidies, discusses participation in the WOTC and WtW, surveys the current evidence on the effects of the tax credits on labor market outcomes, and discusses the costs and benefits of the programs. The evidence suggests that the programs are vastly underutilized and have not had a meaningful effect on employment rates among the disadvantaged. However, those relatively few workers whose employers participate do appear to experience a modest earnings increase as a result of the subsidies. (Author Abstract)

  • Individual Author: Cancian, Maria; Levinson, Arik
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2005

    We examine the effect of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) on labor supply, comparing outcomes in Wisconsin, which supplements the federal EITC for families with three children, to outcomes in states that do not supplement the federal EITC. Relative to previous studies, our cross–state comparison examines a larger difference in EITC subsidy rates, more similar treatment and control groups, and a policy that has been in place longer. Whereas most previous research has found significant effects of the EITC on labor force participation, we find no effect. (author abstract)

    This article is based on a working paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research.

    We examine the effect of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) on labor supply, comparing outcomes in Wisconsin, which supplements the federal EITC for families with three children, to outcomes in states that do not supplement the federal EITC. Relative to previous studies, our cross–state comparison examines a larger difference in EITC subsidy rates, more similar treatment and control groups, and a policy that has been in place longer. Whereas most previous research has found significant effects of the EITC on labor force participation, we find no effect. (author abstract)

    This article is based on a working paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research.

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