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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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The SSRC Library collection is constantly growing and new research is added regularly. We welcome our users to submit a library item to help us grow our collection in response to your needs.


  • Individual Author: Berube, Alan; Forman, Benjamin
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2001

    This year, the federal Earned Income; Tax Credit (EITC), a refundable; credit available to families who work; but generally earn less than 200 percent; of the federal poverty level, will deliver; over $30 billion to 18.4 million low-income; families across the U.S. Despite the recent; growth of the EITC and the working poor; population it serves, very little is known about; where the credit actually goes, or how it; impacts local and regional economies. Earlier; this year, we analyzed the spatial distribution; of the EITC in 28 metropolitan areas across; the U.S. using 1997 and 1998 income tax; data from the Internal Revenue Service; (IRS). We found that, on average, about; 60 percent of all EITC dollars flowed to the; suburbs and smaller cities surrounding the central cities of metropolitan areas; surveyed. In the typical central city we; studied, about one in four taxpayers; earned an EITC worth over $1,500. (author abstract)

    This year, the federal Earned Income; Tax Credit (EITC), a refundable; credit available to families who work; but generally earn less than 200 percent; of the federal poverty level, will deliver; over $30 billion to 18.4 million low-income; families across the U.S. Despite the recent; growth of the EITC and the working poor; population it serves, very little is known about; where the credit actually goes, or how it; impacts local and regional economies. Earlier; this year, we analyzed the spatial distribution; of the EITC in 28 metropolitan areas across; the U.S. using 1997 and 1998 income tax; data from the Internal Revenue Service; (IRS). We found that, on average, about; 60 percent of all EITC dollars flowed to the; suburbs and smaller cities surrounding the central cities of metropolitan areas; surveyed. In the typical central city we; studied, about one in four taxpayers; earned an EITC worth over $1,500. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Goldberg, Heidi
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2001

    Transportation is frequently identified as a significant barrier to finding and maintaining employment for low-income families. Studies on families leaving welfare for work find that many do not own cars and do not have adequate transportation to and from work, child care, and other activities. Although employment may be plentiful in some regions, an increasing number of jobs are located in suburban areas that are inaccessible to workers who live in cities or in rural communities. Public transportation—especially in rural areas—is often non-existent or inadequate. Even where public transit is available, it may not be conducive to the “off-hour” shifts that many low-wage jobs require. Public transportation also can be problematic when a parent’s job and child care provider are located at some distance from each other. Car ownership can be a solution to some of these transportation challenges. Research has shown that a parent with a car is more likely to be employed and to work more hours than a parent without a car. A reliable automobile can provide parents with access to a...

    Transportation is frequently identified as a significant barrier to finding and maintaining employment for low-income families. Studies on families leaving welfare for work find that many do not own cars and do not have adequate transportation to and from work, child care, and other activities. Although employment may be plentiful in some regions, an increasing number of jobs are located in suburban areas that are inaccessible to workers who live in cities or in rural communities. Public transportation—especially in rural areas—is often non-existent or inadequate. Even where public transit is available, it may not be conducive to the “off-hour” shifts that many low-wage jobs require. Public transportation also can be problematic when a parent’s job and child care provider are located at some distance from each other. Car ownership can be a solution to some of these transportation challenges. Research has shown that a parent with a car is more likely to be employed and to work more hours than a parent without a car. A reliable automobile can provide parents with access to a greater array of employment opportunities. Also, having access to a car can mitigate some of the scheduling complications that arise in child care arrangements. States and counties can use a range of funding sources to provide low-income families with transportation supports. Most States provide some transportation assistance to families receiving welfare or those moving from welfare to work. These services can include transportation allowances; reimbursements; and contracts for buses, vans or other transportation services. They also can include assistance with car purchase and ongoing car maintenance costs. None of these approaches are mutually exclusive and, in many States, most or all of these types of assistance are provided. However, often these supports are only available for a limited period as a family transitions from welfare into employment. In addition, programs in most States tend to focus on helping families access public or shared transportation. Some States and counties, however, have recognized the importance of car ownership as a means to help meet the needs of a broader range of low-income families, and are developing programs to assist families to purchase and maintain cars. In many States, vehicle ownership programs are small and initially were funded with non-TANF funds. However, TANF funds provide States and counties with the opportunity to expand or replicate these programs to reach a broader group of low-income families. This paper examines how car ownership can help low-income families obtain and maintain employment and reviews examples of existing car ownership programs. (Author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Anderson, Steven G.
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2002

    Welfare reform policies assume that recipients will increase work efforts if they are offered improved income and support services incentives. Yet, based on personal interviews with 60 welfare recipients, this study found that recipients often do not understand the incentives provided. This results both from a lack of knowledge about existing incentives and from confusion about eligibility rules and benefit calculations. Such knowledge deficits do not appear to be the result of lack of interest in working, but rather stem from the complexity of incentives. To improve recipient responsiveness and well-being, work incentives need to be simplified and strategies developed for better dissemination of information to recipients. Caseworkers must play a vital role in such efforts, because they often are the key to ensuring that recipients gain access to available benefits. (author abstract)

    Welfare reform policies assume that recipients will increase work efforts if they are offered improved income and support services incentives. Yet, based on personal interviews with 60 welfare recipients, this study found that recipients often do not understand the incentives provided. This results both from a lack of knowledge about existing incentives and from confusion about eligibility rules and benefit calculations. Such knowledge deficits do not appear to be the result of lack of interest in working, but rather stem from the complexity of incentives. To improve recipient responsiveness and well-being, work incentives need to be simplified and strategies developed for better dissemination of information to recipients. Caseworkers must play a vital role in such efforts, because they often are the key to ensuring that recipients gain access to available benefits. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Hirasuna, Donald; Stinson, Thomas
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2004

    This paper examines utilization rates of Minnesota’s earned income tax credit program by households on welfare from 1992 through 1999. We examine urban and rural differences in the rate of filing an income tax return and receiving the earned income tax credit. Tabulations show that urban areas have the lowest utilization rates, but are catching up in both income tax filing rates and earned income credit receipt rates. Regression analyses identify correlates to urban-rural differences. A modeling exercise examines how urban and rural households might respond to a 10 percent increase in the credit. Finally, policy suggestions are offered, which are relevant to urban and rural areas and are appropriate for other states. (author abstract)

    This paper examines utilization rates of Minnesota’s earned income tax credit program by households on welfare from 1992 through 1999. We examine urban and rural differences in the rate of filing an income tax return and receiving the earned income tax credit. Tabulations show that urban areas have the lowest utilization rates, but are catching up in both income tax filing rates and earned income credit receipt rates. Regression analyses identify correlates to urban-rural differences. A modeling exercise examines how urban and rural households might respond to a 10 percent increase in the credit. Finally, policy suggestions are offered, which are relevant to urban and rural areas and are appropriate for other states. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Fisher, Monica G.; Weber, Bruce A.
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2004

    This paper uses Panel Study of Income Dynamics data for 1989, 1994, and 1999 to examine why some U.S. households are asset poor; that is, why households have insufficient resources to invest in their future or to sustain household members at a basic level during times of economic disruption. The study contributes to an improved understanding of asset poverty's correlates by examining the influence of place of residence; the extant literature has focused on individual-level explanations. We estimate a random-effects logistic model of the probability that an individual is asset poor at a given point in time as a function of household-level (e.g. age, gender, race of the household head and family structure) and place-level (regional and rural-urban continuum) variables. The central finding of the paper is that place of residence is an important determinant of asset poverty, above and beyond the influence of household characteristics. We find that living in a central metropolitan county and in a nonmetropolitan area is associated with a higher risk of being asset poor, all else being...

    This paper uses Panel Study of Income Dynamics data for 1989, 1994, and 1999 to examine why some U.S. households are asset poor; that is, why households have insufficient resources to invest in their future or to sustain household members at a basic level during times of economic disruption. The study contributes to an improved understanding of asset poverty's correlates by examining the influence of place of residence; the extant literature has focused on individual-level explanations. We estimate a random-effects logistic model of the probability that an individual is asset poor at a given point in time as a function of household-level (e.g. age, gender, race of the household head and family structure) and place-level (regional and rural-urban continuum) variables. The central finding of the paper is that place of residence is an important determinant of asset poverty, above and beyond the influence of household characteristics. We find that living in a central metropolitan county and in a nonmetropolitan area is associated with a higher risk of being asset poor, all else being equal. Implications for future research are discussed. (author abstract)

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