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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: 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: Kneebone, Elizabeth
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2008

    This report examines the changing geographic distribution of recipients of the federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) across large cities and suburbs, smaller metro areas, and rural communities in the United States. An analysis of IRS data on EITC recipients in tax years 2000 and 2005 reveals that:

    • In tax year 2005, the greatest number of EITC filers lived in the suburbs of large metropolitan areas. More than 8 million EITC filers lived in the suburbs, though big-city and rural taxpayers were more likely to receive the EITC. In both large cities and rural areas, more than one in five low-income workers claimed the credit in tax year 2005.
    • In the South and West, rural taxpayers were most likely to receive the EITC, while Northeastern and Midwestern EITC recipients were more concentrated in large cities. Over a quarter of rural taxpayers in the South claimed the EITC in tax year 2005. Similar, though slightly smaller, proportions of low-income workers in Northeastern central cities received the credit that year.
    • Total EITC filers increased by 3.2...

    This report examines the changing geographic distribution of recipients of the federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) across large cities and suburbs, smaller metro areas, and rural communities in the United States. An analysis of IRS data on EITC recipients in tax years 2000 and 2005 reveals that:

    • In tax year 2005, the greatest number of EITC filers lived in the suburbs of large metropolitan areas. More than 8 million EITC filers lived in the suburbs, though big-city and rural taxpayers were more likely to receive the EITC. In both large cities and rural areas, more than one in five low-income workers claimed the credit in tax year 2005.
    • In the South and West, rural taxpayers were most likely to receive the EITC, while Northeastern and Midwestern EITC recipients were more concentrated in large cities. Over a quarter of rural taxpayers in the South claimed the EITC in tax year 2005. Similar, though slightly smaller, proportions of low-income workers in Northeastern central cities received the credit that year.
    • Total EITC filers increased by 3.2 million between tax years 2000 and 2005, and almost half that growth (1.6 million) occurred in large suburbs. While large suburbs captured much of the increase in actual EITC filers, rural areas—especially in the Midwest—experienced faster growth in the share of taxpayers claiming the EITC over the first half of the decade.
    • Almost 47 percent of EITC filers claimed the Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) in tax year 2005, for a total of $9.4 billion. EITC filers living in large suburbs were the most likely to also benefit from the ACTC, followed by EITC recipients in smaller metropolitan areas.

    (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Hall, Crystal Celestine
    Reference Type: Thesis
    Year: 2008

    In three parts, I explore factors contributing to the behavior of low-income individuals. Specifically, I have identified issues relating to trust, mental accounting and self-affirmation. First, in Studies 1-3, I explore the extent to which concerns of trust drive preferences for financial contracts of low-income individuals versus the wealthy. In a nutshell, I find that when selecting among contracts for buying or selling a good or service, low-income respondents (relative to the more wealthy) appear to weigh the perceived trustworthiness of the contract partner more heavily (as opposed to focusing on the financial terms of the contract). In addition, I explore self-reported rationales for these choices and general notions of trustworthiness among low and high-income groups.

    Studies 4-5 show that low-income individuals do not reliably replicate a well-established finding regarding savings preference. Specifically, when considering spending time to travel in order to save a certain amount of money, low-income participants do not consistently show a preference for savings...

    In three parts, I explore factors contributing to the behavior of low-income individuals. Specifically, I have identified issues relating to trust, mental accounting and self-affirmation. First, in Studies 1-3, I explore the extent to which concerns of trust drive preferences for financial contracts of low-income individuals versus the wealthy. In a nutshell, I find that when selecting among contracts for buying or selling a good or service, low-income respondents (relative to the more wealthy) appear to weigh the perceived trustworthiness of the contract partner more heavily (as opposed to focusing on the financial terms of the contract). In addition, I explore self-reported rationales for these choices and general notions of trustworthiness among low and high-income groups.

    Studies 4-5 show that low-income individuals do not reliably replicate a well-established finding regarding savings preference. Specifically, when considering spending time to travel in order to save a certain amount of money, low-income participants do not consistently show a preference for savings on proportionally larger sums of money (as has been previously demonstrated in this literature). Instead, they seem to focus more on absolute amounts of savings.

    In Study 6, I use a self-affirmation intervention on a group of low-income individuals. Self-affirmation theory is based on the general premise that individuals are motivated to protect their perceived sense of self-worth. When used as a behavioral intervention, affirmation has been shown to attenuate or eliminate the effects of a host of psychological phenomena, including those related to stereotype threat. After random assignment to either a self-affirmation or neutral condition, participants' interest in a financial benefits program is measured. Individuals who have been affirmed show a greater likelihood of accepting information about the Earned Income Tax Credit program.

    In sum, I argue that there are subtle differences in what features low versus high-income groups focus on. Generalizing from the findings of high-income individuals causes these nuances to be overlooked. From a practical standpoint, a better understanding of the nuanced differences between low and high-income decision makers can facilitate the development of more efficient policies and programs targeted at lower income populations. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Schildt, Chris; Cytron, Naomi; Kneebone, Elizabeth; Reid, Carolina
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2013

    In this brief, we provide an overview of patterns of subprime lending, as well as trends in foreclosures and REOs, in suburban communities compared to inner-cities. We also explore the relationship between foreclosures in suburban areas and the increased suburbanization of poverty. We find that the vast majority of foreclosures–nearly three out of four (73.1 percent)—have been in suburban areas, and that suburban neighborhoods with higher rates of poverty are more likely to experience higher foreclosure rates. This is of concern because the mechanisms for addressing the challenges associated with concentrated foreclosures can be more difficult to implement in suburban areas; suburbs may have smaller local governments, fewer nonprofits, and a more dispersed urban form, making it difficult for cities or nonprofits to administer programs or for residents to access them. Because the distribution of foreclosed homes has significant implications for the long-term stability of suburban neighborhoods, increased resources and attention should be devoted to developing foreclosure responses...

    In this brief, we provide an overview of patterns of subprime lending, as well as trends in foreclosures and REOs, in suburban communities compared to inner-cities. We also explore the relationship between foreclosures in suburban areas and the increased suburbanization of poverty. We find that the vast majority of foreclosures–nearly three out of four (73.1 percent)—have been in suburban areas, and that suburban neighborhoods with higher rates of poverty are more likely to experience higher foreclosure rates. This is of concern because the mechanisms for addressing the challenges associated with concentrated foreclosures can be more difficult to implement in suburban areas; suburbs may have smaller local governments, fewer nonprofits, and a more dispersed urban form, making it difficult for cities or nonprofits to administer programs or for residents to access them. Because the distribution of foreclosed homes has significant implications for the long-term stability of suburban neighborhoods, increased resources and attention should be devoted to developing foreclosure responses that take into account the capacity and access challenges that are unique to suburban neighborhoods. (author abstract)