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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: O'Leary, Christopher J.
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 1999

    This paper reviews the literature on evaluation of government operated programs to provide temporary income support and to promote reemployment for unemployed job seekers. The paper is a synopsis of the international literature spanning various evaluation techniques. The main aim is to identify the best methodology for measuring and monitoring net impacts of Employment Benefits and Support Measures (EBSMs) in Canada. Sections of the review are organized around the sources of literature. The first source is the academic literature, which provides a theoretical overview of alternative approaches to measuring and monitoring program impacts. The issue of how an ideal net impact monitoring system should work is also explored. The next source of literature is Canadian and foreign government reports. The literature review provides a context to assess the Canadian experience and future directions. The Upjohn Institute team has a high degree of foreign experience on similar topics. This was an asset in preparing the literature review since the government and other non-academic literature...

    This paper reviews the literature on evaluation of government operated programs to provide temporary income support and to promote reemployment for unemployed job seekers. The paper is a synopsis of the international literature spanning various evaluation techniques. The main aim is to identify the best methodology for measuring and monitoring net impacts of Employment Benefits and Support Measures (EBSMs) in Canada. Sections of the review are organized around the sources of literature. The first source is the academic literature, which provides a theoretical overview of alternative approaches to measuring and monitoring program impacts. The issue of how an ideal net impact monitoring system should work is also explored. The next source of literature is Canadian and foreign government reports. The literature review provides a context to assess the Canadian experience and future directions. The Upjohn Institute team has a high degree of foreign experience on similar topics. This was an asset in preparing the literature review since the government and other non-academic literature is typically difficult to obtain by the normal channels. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Morris, Pamela; Michalopoulos, Charles
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2000

    This is the latest in a series of reports on the Self-Sufficiency Project. SSP is a test of a strategy to “make work pay” as a way of simultaneously addressing the problems of poverty and dependency. The participants in SSP were all single parents who had been receiving Income Assistance (IA) benefits for at least a year and, in many cases, much longer. The program that SSP offered them was a generous, but temporary, supplement to their earnings if they went to work full time and ceased receiving Income Assistance. The goal of SSP is to see whether this form of incentive is an effective way of putting more money into the hands of poor families and, at the same time, of encouraging work as a way to achieve greater economic self-sufficiency.

    The Self-Sufficiency Project is a rigorous research project that uses a random assignment evaluation design generally accepted to be the most reliable way of measuring program impacts. This is a long-term study that, ultimately, will last 10 years from start to finish.

    The opening chapters of the unfolding SSP story have been...

    This is the latest in a series of reports on the Self-Sufficiency Project. SSP is a test of a strategy to “make work pay” as a way of simultaneously addressing the problems of poverty and dependency. The participants in SSP were all single parents who had been receiving Income Assistance (IA) benefits for at least a year and, in many cases, much longer. The program that SSP offered them was a generous, but temporary, supplement to their earnings if they went to work full time and ceased receiving Income Assistance. The goal of SSP is to see whether this form of incentive is an effective way of putting more money into the hands of poor families and, at the same time, of encouraging work as a way to achieve greater economic self-sufficiency.

    The Self-Sufficiency Project is a rigorous research project that uses a random assignment evaluation design generally accepted to be the most reliable way of measuring program impacts. This is a long-term study that, ultimately, will last 10 years from start to finish.

    The opening chapters of the unfolding SSP story have been exciting. Previous reports have shown that significant numbers of single-parent, long-term IA recipients are willing and able to leave welfare for work if employment can be made a financially rewarding alternative; that SSP’s short-term impacts on full-time employment and earnings are among the largest ever seen in a rigorously evaluated welfare-to-work program; and that the effects can be even larger when the program is provided to a somewhat less disadvantaged group of IA recipients or when financial incentives are offered in combination with employment services.

    The previously published results have been based on what happened in the first 18 months after participants became eligible for SSP’s offer of financial assistance. In a companion report to this one, entitled The Self-Sufficiency Project at 36 Months: Effects of a Financial Work Incentive on Employment and Income, the results are extended for a further 18 months and show that, after 36 months, SSP’s impacts on the labour market experiences of participants remain substantial.

    SSP’s evaluation is not limited to the economic circumstances of the single parents taking part. The project is also examining the effects SSP may have had on family functioning and on the well-being of the children in these families. The results presented here show that, overall, SSP had few effects and those that were observed were quite small. For example, there is no evidence of any effects on the youngest children’s functioning. There were small positive effects on children’s cognitive and school outcomes for those in a middle-age cohort. And among the oldest children, SSP may have produced small negative effects.

    About six months ago, the operational phase of SSP concluded when the last of its participants reached the end of the period during which they were eligible to receive earnings supplements. Longer-term program impacts will be based on a subsequent survey of participants’ post-program experiences. However, we believe that the findings that SSP has produced so far are already providing policy-makers with much useful evidence to guide social policy development. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Morris, Pamela; Michalopoulos, Charles
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2000

    For several decades, policy-makers have implemented policies designed to encourage welfare recipients to work. Especially promising is the use of financial work incentives, which have proved to increase employment, reduce welfare dependence, and at the same time increase family income. Little is known, however, about how policies that encourage welfare recipients to work affect children in these families. Do policies that increase employment and income among single parents also benefit children? Or do children suffer because increased employment reduces the time they spend with their parents and increases their parents’ stress? Would the benefits of increased income help to overcome any negative effects of maternal employment? This report seeks to address these issues by investigating the effects on families and children of a research and demonstration project called the Self-Sufficiency Project (SSP). SSP offers a rare opportunity to inform our understanding of how programs that increase employment and income may affect low-income children.

    Conceived and funded by Human...

    For several decades, policy-makers have implemented policies designed to encourage welfare recipients to work. Especially promising is the use of financial work incentives, which have proved to increase employment, reduce welfare dependence, and at the same time increase family income. Little is known, however, about how policies that encourage welfare recipients to work affect children in these families. Do policies that increase employment and income among single parents also benefit children? Or do children suffer because increased employment reduces the time they spend with their parents and increases their parents’ stress? Would the benefits of increased income help to overcome any negative effects of maternal employment? This report seeks to address these issues by investigating the effects on families and children of a research and demonstration project called the Self-Sufficiency Project (SSP). SSP offers a rare opportunity to inform our understanding of how programs that increase employment and income may affect low-income children.

    Conceived and funded by Human Resources Development Canada (HRDC), SSP is a research and demonstration project to test a policy innovation that makes work pay better than welfare. Managed by the Social Research and Demonstration Corporation (SRDC) and evaluated by staff at Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation (MDRC) and SRDC, SSP offered a temporary, but generous, earnings supplement to selected single parents who had been on Income Assistance (IA) for at least a year. To take advantage of the supplement offer, parents had to begin working full time (30 or more hours per week) and stop receiving Income Assistance within a year of being offered the supplement. The supplement was paid on top of earnings from full-time employment. Those who were eligible to receive it could do so for up to three years after finding full-time work, as long as they were working full time and not receiving Income Assistance. While collecting the supplement, a parent received an immediate payoff from work; in most cases, her total income before taxes was about twice her earnings. The supplement amount was not tied to family size or family structure and was a voluntary alternative to the IA program; recipients could not receive the supplement and Income Assistance at the same time.

    The Self-Sufficiency Project was designed as a social experiment using a rigorous, random-assignment research model. In the main SSP study, a group of 5,686 single parents (primarily single mothers) in New Brunswick and the lower mainland of British Columbia who had been on Income Assistance for at least a year were selected at random from the IA rolls. One-half of these parents was randomly assigned to a program group and offered the SSP supplement, while the remainder formed a control group. Because the two groups were similar in all respects except whether they were allowed to participate in the program, the “impact” or effect of SSP can be measured in the difference between the program and control groups’ subsequent experiences.

    Families were surveyed three years after entering the study and being randomly assigned to one of the research groups, and information on mothers’ economic outcomes and on child and family functioning was collected. A companion report on this sample examines the effects of SSP on parental outcomes such as employment, IA receipt, wage growth, and employment stability, as well as income level, material hardship, assets, and marriage. This report examines SSP’s impacts on children’s academic functioning (for example, achievement in school), cognitive functioning (for example, test scores), social behaviour, emotional well-being, and health. In addition, it explores impacts on maternal physical and emotional health, interactions between mothers and children, child care and children’s afterschool activities, school and residential changes, and family structure. These impacts were measured at 36 months after random assignment, during the period when members of the program group who “took up” the supplement (by finding work in the year after random assignment and leaving Income Assistance) were eligible to receive supplement payments. Those supplement takers who went to work shortly after random assignment were nearing the end of their eligibility, while those who found work at the end of their first year after random assignment could still receive the supplement for a full year after the 36-month survey. A future report will examine how children are faring after the three years of supplement eligibility has ended. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Drobnic, Sonja
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2000

    This study focuses on the effects of children on the labour supply of married and lone mothers in the USA and Germany using individual-level longitudinal data and event-history analysis. Employment exits and (re-)entries are examined in various stages of the family life cycle in order to assess the impact of children of various ages on their mothers' employment patterns. Analyses based on the National Survey of Families and Households (USA) and the Socioeconomic Panel (Germany) show that lone mothers have in general equal or lower rates of work exits than married mothers, and equal or higher rates of employment (re-)entries when other factors are controlled. This high degree of work activity among lone mothers is often overlooked in debates that focus on the poverty and welfare dependency of lone-mother households. The differences between lone and married mothers are in general considerably greater in Germany than in the USA. Lone mothers in Germany rely more on full-time employment than married women, for whom part-time work is an important form of re-employment after employment...

    This study focuses on the effects of children on the labour supply of married and lone mothers in the USA and Germany using individual-level longitudinal data and event-history analysis. Employment exits and (re-)entries are examined in various stages of the family life cycle in order to assess the impact of children of various ages on their mothers' employment patterns. Analyses based on the National Survey of Families and Households (USA) and the Socioeconomic Panel (Germany) show that lone mothers have in general equal or lower rates of work exits than married mothers, and equal or higher rates of employment (re-)entries when other factors are controlled. This high degree of work activity among lone mothers is often overlooked in debates that focus on the poverty and welfare dependency of lone-mother households. The differences between lone and married mothers are in general considerably greater in Germany than in the USA. Lone mothers in Germany rely more on full-time employment than married women, for whom part-time work is an important form of re-employment after employment interruptions. Also, in the USA part-time employment is associated only with married women as a way to reconcile employment and children. Finally, the timing of childbearing emerges as an important determinant of how women's careers evolve over the life course. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Michalopoulos, Charles; Robins, Philip K.
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2000

    This paper examines employment and child-care choices of single-parent families with young children in the United States and Canada, using a pooled data set based on recent national surveys in each country. We find that the employment and child-care choices of Canadian families are similar to those of U.S. families. Estimates of a model of employment and child-care choices indicate significant effects of child-care subsidies, child-care prices, and wage rates on employment and child-care choices. (author abstract)

    This paper examines employment and child-care choices of single-parent families with young children in the United States and Canada, using a pooled data set based on recent national surveys in each country. We find that the employment and child-care choices of Canadian families are similar to those of U.S. families. Estimates of a model of employment and child-care choices indicate significant effects of child-care subsidies, child-care prices, and wage rates on employment and child-care choices. (author abstract)

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