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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: Meyer, Bruce D.; Rosenbaum, Dan T.
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2001

    During 1984-96 there were enormous changes in welfare and tax policy. In particular, there were large; expansions of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Medicaid, changes in the Aid to Families with Dependent; Children (AFDC) program and related training and child care programs. Many of the program changes were intended to; encourage low income women to work. During this same time period there were unprecedented increases in the; employment of single mothers, particularly those with young children. In this paper, we first document these large; changes in policies and employment. We then examine if the policy changes are the reason for the large increases in; single mothers’ employment. We find evidence that a large share of the increase in work by single mothers can be; attributed to the EITC, with smaller shares for welfare benefit reductions, welfare waivers, changes in training programs,; and child care expansions. Our results also indicate that financial incentives through the tax and welfare systems have; substantial effects on single mothers’ employment decisions. (...

    During 1984-96 there were enormous changes in welfare and tax policy. In particular, there were large; expansions of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Medicaid, changes in the Aid to Families with Dependent; Children (AFDC) program and related training and child care programs. Many of the program changes were intended to; encourage low income women to work. During this same time period there were unprecedented increases in the; employment of single mothers, particularly those with young children. In this paper, we first document these large; changes in policies and employment. We then examine if the policy changes are the reason for the large increases in; single mothers’ employment. We find evidence that a large share of the increase in work by single mothers can be; attributed to the EITC, with smaller shares for welfare benefit reductions, welfare waivers, changes in training programs,; and child care expansions. Our results also indicate that financial incentives through the tax and welfare systems have; substantial effects on single mothers’ employment decisions. (Author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Shapiro, Thomas; Wolff, Edward
    Reference Type: Book Chapter/Book
    Year: 2001

    Over the past three decades, average household wealth in the United States has declined among all but the richest families, with a near 80 percent drop among the nation's poorest families. Although the national debate about inequality has focused on income, it is wealth—the private assets amassed and passed on within families—that provides the extra economic cushion needed to move beyond mere day-to-day survival. Assets for the Poor is the first full-scale investigation into the importance of family wealth and the need for policies to encourage asset-building among the poor.

    Assets for the Poor shows how institutional mechanisms designed to encourage acquisition of capital and property favor middle-class and high-income families. For example, the aggregate value of home mortgage tax deductions far outweighs the dollar amount of the subsidies provided by Section 8 rental vouchers and public housing. Banking definitions of creditworthiness largely exclude minorities, and welfare rules have made it nearly impossible for single mothers to accumulate savings, let alone stocks...

    Over the past three decades, average household wealth in the United States has declined among all but the richest families, with a near 80 percent drop among the nation's poorest families. Although the national debate about inequality has focused on income, it is wealth—the private assets amassed and passed on within families—that provides the extra economic cushion needed to move beyond mere day-to-day survival. Assets for the Poor is the first full-scale investigation into the importance of family wealth and the need for policies to encourage asset-building among the poor.

    Assets for the Poor shows how institutional mechanisms designed to encourage acquisition of capital and property favor middle-class and high-income families. For example, the aggregate value of home mortgage tax deductions far outweighs the dollar amount of the subsidies provided by Section 8 rental vouchers and public housing. Banking definitions of creditworthiness largely exclude minorities, and welfare rules have made it nearly impossible for single mothers to accumulate savings, let alone stocks or real estate. Due to persistent residential segregation, even those minority families who do own homes are often denied equal access to better schools and public services.

    The research in this volume shows that the poor do make use of the assets they have. Cash gifts—although small in size—are frequent within families and often lead to such positive results as homebuying and debt reduction, while tangible assets such as tools and cars help increase employment prospects. Assets for the Poor examines policies such as Individual Development Account tax subsidies to reward financial savings among the poor, and more liberal credit rules to make borrowing easier and less costly. The contributors also offer thoughtful advice for bringing the poor into mainstream savings institutions and warn against developing asset building policies at the expense of existing safety net programs.

    Asset-building for low-income families is a powerful idea that offers hope to families searching for a way out of poverty. Assets for the Poor challenges current thinking regarding poverty reduction policies and proposes a major shift in the way we think about families and how they make a better life. (author abstract) 

    Table of Contents:

    Chapter 1: The Importance of Assets - Thomas Shapiro 

    Chapter 2: Recent Trends in Wealth Ownership, from 1983 to 1998 - Edward Wolff 

    Chapter 3: Access to Wealth among Older Workers in the 1990s and How it is Distributed: Data from the Health and Retirement Study - Richard Burkhauser and Robert Weathers II 

    Chapter 4: The Role of Intergenerational Transfers in Spreading Asset Ownership - Mark Wilhelm 

    Chapter 5: Asset Accumulation among Low-Income Households - Stacie Carney and William Gale

    Chapter 6: More Than Money: The Role of Assets in the Survival Strategies and Material Well-Being of the Poor - Kathryn Edin

    Chapter 7: Housing as a Means of Asset Accumulation: A Good Strategy for the Poor? - Nancy Denton

    Chapter 8: The Un(credit)worthy Poor: Historical Perspectives on Policies to Expand Assets and Credit - Mark Stern 

    Chapter 9: Asset-Building Policy and Programs for the Poor - Michael Sherraden

    Chapter 10: Assets and the Tax Code - Laurence Seidman

    Chapter 11: Wrap-Up with Rapporteurs - John Butler, Dalton Conley, Robert Haverman, and Seymour Spilerman

  • 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: Danziger, Sheldon H.; Haveman, Robert H.
    Reference Type: Book Chapter/Book
    Year: 2002

    In spite of an unprecedented period of growth and prosperity, the poverty rate in the United States remains high relative to the levels of the early 1970s and relative to those in many industrialized countries today. Understanding Poverty brings the problem of poverty in America to the fore, focusing on its nature and extent at the dawn of the twenty-first century.

    Looking back over the four decades since the nation declared war on poverty, the authors ask how the poor have fared in the market economy, what government programs have and have not accomplished, and what remains to be done. They help us understand how changes in the way the labor market operates, in family structure, and in social welfare, health, and education policies have affected trends in poverty. Most significantly, they offer suggestions for changes in programs and policies that hold real promise for reducing poverty and income inequality. (author abstract)

    Table of Contents:

    I - Trends and Determinants of Poverty, Inequality, and Mobility

      ...

    In spite of an unprecedented period of growth and prosperity, the poverty rate in the United States remains high relative to the levels of the early 1970s and relative to those in many industrialized countries today. Understanding Poverty brings the problem of poverty in America to the fore, focusing on its nature and extent at the dawn of the twenty-first century.

    Looking back over the four decades since the nation declared war on poverty, the authors ask how the poor have fared in the market economy, what government programs have and have not accomplished, and what remains to be done. They help us understand how changes in the way the labor market operates, in family structure, and in social welfare, health, and education policies have affected trends in poverty. Most significantly, they offer suggestions for changes in programs and policies that hold real promise for reducing poverty and income inequality. (author abstract)

    Table of Contents:

    I - Trends and Determinants of Poverty, Inequality, and Mobility

    • Chapter 1: The Level, Trend, and Composition of Poverty – Gary Burtless and Timothy M. Smeeding
    • Chapter 2: Changes in Family Structure: Implications for Poverty and Related Policy – Maria Cancian and Deborah Reed
    • Chapter 3: The Rising Tide Lifts…? – Richard B. Freeman
    • Chapter 4: Mobility, Persistence, and the Consequences of Poverty for Children: Child and Adult Outcomes – Mary Corcoran
    • Chapter 5: U.S. Poverty in a Cross-national Context – Timothy M. Smeeding, Lee Rainwater, and Gary Burtless

    II – The Evolution of Antipoverty Policies

    • Chapter 6: The Evolution of Income Support Policy in Recent Decades – John Karl Scholz and Kara Levine
    • Chapter 7: Welfare Policy in Transition: Redefining the Social Contract for Poor Citizen Families with Children and for Immigrants – LaDonna A. Pavetti
    • Chapter 8: Health Policies for the Non-elderly Poor – John Mullahy and Barbara L. Wolfe
    • Chapter 9: Investing in the Future: Reducing Poverty Through Human Capital Investments – Lynn A. Karoly

    III – Neighborhoods, Groups, and Communities

    • Chapter 10: Housing Discrimination and Residential Segregation as Causes of Poverty – John Yinger
    • Chapter 11: The Memberships Theory of Poverty: The Role of Group Affiliations in Determining Socioeconomic Outcomes – Steven N. Durlauf
    • Chapter 12: Community Revitalization, Jobs, and the Well-being of the Inner-City Poor – Ronald F. Ferguson

    IV – Concluding Thoughts

    • Chapter 13: Politics, Race, and Poverty Research – Glenn C. Loury
    • Chapter 14: Poverty Research and Antipoverty Policy After the Technological Revolution – David R. Harris
    • Chapter 15: Research on Poverty and Antipoverty Policies – Jane Waldfogel
  • Individual Author: Herbert, Christopher E. ; Turnham, Jennifer; Wood, Michelle; Rodger, Christopher N.
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2003

    This report presents the final results of an evaluation of the home purchase component of Michigan's Links to Homeownership program. The program used TANF funds to expand down payment assistance and homeownership education for low-income home buyers in the state. The evaluation assessed the quality of program implementation and the effects of the program on attainment and sustainability of homeownership for families served.

    This report presents the final results of an evaluation of the home purchase component of Michigan's Links to Homeownership program. The program used TANF funds to expand down payment assistance and homeownership education for low-income home buyers in the state. The evaluation assessed the quality of program implementation and the effects of the program on attainment and sustainability of homeownership for families served.

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