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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: Mead, Lawrence
    Reference Type: Book Chapter/Book
    Year: 1992

    Thirty years ago, the great national debate was how to help ordinary, workaday Americans achieve the good things in life. Today, we are preoccupied with—and increasingly divided over—how to cope with the problems of poor and dependent Americans, most of whom cannot or will not work at the jobs available. Mead provides overwhelming and disturbing evidence that passive poverty—the failure of most of the poor to work at all—reflects defeatism more than lack of opportunity. In this controversial book, Mead proposes concrete steps to overcome the inertia of the nonworking poor trapped in the welfare system. If the poor return to work, he suggests, American politics would focus once again on the problems of the working Americans. (publisher abstract)

    Thirty years ago, the great national debate was how to help ordinary, workaday Americans achieve the good things in life. Today, we are preoccupied with—and increasingly divided over—how to cope with the problems of poor and dependent Americans, most of whom cannot or will not work at the jobs available. Mead provides overwhelming and disturbing evidence that passive poverty—the failure of most of the poor to work at all—reflects defeatism more than lack of opportunity. In this controversial book, Mead proposes concrete steps to overcome the inertia of the nonworking poor trapped in the welfare system. If the poor return to work, he suggests, American politics would focus once again on the problems of the working Americans. (publisher abstract)

  • Individual Author: Friedlander, Daniel; Burtless, Gary
    Reference Type: Book Chapter/Book
    Year: 1995

    With welfare reforms tested in almost every state and plans for a comprehensive federal overall on the horizon, it is increasingly important for Americans to understand how policy changes are likely to affect the lives of welfare recipients. Five Years After tells the story of what happened to the welfare recipients who participated in the influential welfare-to-work experiments conducted by several states in the mid-1980s. The authors review the distinctive goals and procedures of evaluations performed in Arkansas, Baltimore, San Diego, and Virginia, and then examine five years of follow-up data to determine whether the initial positive impact on employment, earnings, and welfare costs held up over time. The results were surprisingly consistent. Low-cost programs that saved money by getting individuals into jobs quickly did little to reduce poverty in the long run. Only higher-cost educational programs enabled welfare recipients to hold down jobs successfully and stay off welfare.

    Five Years After ends speculation about the viability of the first generation of employment...

    With welfare reforms tested in almost every state and plans for a comprehensive federal overall on the horizon, it is increasingly important for Americans to understand how policy changes are likely to affect the lives of welfare recipients. Five Years After tells the story of what happened to the welfare recipients who participated in the influential welfare-to-work experiments conducted by several states in the mid-1980s. The authors review the distinctive goals and procedures of evaluations performed in Arkansas, Baltimore, San Diego, and Virginia, and then examine five years of follow-up data to determine whether the initial positive impact on employment, earnings, and welfare costs held up over time. The results were surprisingly consistent. Low-cost programs that saved money by getting individuals into jobs quickly did little to reduce poverty in the long run. Only higher-cost educational programs enabled welfare recipients to hold down jobs successfully and stay off welfare.

    Five Years After ends speculation about the viability of the first generation of employment programs for welfare recipients, delineates the hard choices that must be made among competing approaches, and provides a well-documented foundation for building more comprehensive programs for the next generation. A sobering tale for welfare reformers of all political persuasions, this book poses a serious challenge to anyone who promises to end welfare dependency by cutting welfare budgets. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Holzer, Harry
    Reference Type: Book Chapter/Book
    Year: 1996

    A very important contribution to the field of labor economics, and in particular to the understanding of the labor market for workers with relatively low skill levels. I think we have the sense that the market looks bad, but haven't been clear on how bad it is, or how it got that way. What Employers Want provides some of the answers and identifies the important questions. It is essential reading. —Jeffrey S. Zax, University of Colorado at Boulder

    The substantial deterioration in employment and earnings among the nation's less-educated workers, especially minorities and younger males in the nation's big cities, has been tentatively ascribed to a variety of causes: an increase in required job skills, the movement of companies from the cities to the suburbs, and a rising unwillingness to hire minority job seekers. What Employers Want is the first book to replace conjecture about today's job market with first-hand information gleaned from employers about who gets hired. Drawn from a survey of over 3,000 employers in four major metropolitan areas—Los Angeles, Boston, Atlanta,...

    A very important contribution to the field of labor economics, and in particular to the understanding of the labor market for workers with relatively low skill levels. I think we have the sense that the market looks bad, but haven't been clear on how bad it is, or how it got that way. What Employers Want provides some of the answers and identifies the important questions. It is essential reading. —Jeffrey S. Zax, University of Colorado at Boulder

    The substantial deterioration in employment and earnings among the nation's less-educated workers, especially minorities and younger males in the nation's big cities, has been tentatively ascribed to a variety of causes: an increase in required job skills, the movement of companies from the cities to the suburbs, and a rising unwillingness to hire minority job seekers. What Employers Want is the first book to replace conjecture about today's job market with first-hand information gleaned from employers about who gets hired. Drawn from a survey of over 3,000 employers in four major metropolitan areas—Los Angeles, Boston, Atlanta, and Detroit—this volume provides a wealth of data on what jobs are available to the less-educated, in what industries, what skills they require, where they are located, what they pay, and how they are filled.

    The evidence points to a dramatic surge in suburban, white-collar jobs. The manufacturing industry—once a steady employer of blue-collar workers—has been eclipsed by the expanding retail trade and service industries, where the vast majority of jobs are in clerical, managerial, or sales positions. Since manufacturing establishments have been the most likely employers to move from the central cities to the suburbs, the shortage of jobs for low-skill urban workers is particularly acute. In the central cities, the problem is compounded and available jobs remain vacant because employers increasingly require greater cognitive and social skills as well as specific job-related experience. Holzer reveals the extent to which minorities are routinely excluded by employer recruitment and screening practices that rely heavily on testing, informal referrals, and stable work histories. The inaccessible location and discriminatory hiring patterns of suburban employers further limit the hiring of black males in particular, while earnings, especially for minority females, remain low.

    Proponents of welfare reform often assume that stricter work requirements and shorter eligibility periods will effectively channel welfare recipients toward steady employment and off federal subsidies. What Employers Want directly challenges this premise and demonstrates that only concerted efforts to close the gap between urban employers and inner city residents can produce healthy levels of employment in the nation's cities. Professor Holzer outlines the measures that will be necessary—targeted education and training programs, improved transportation and job placement, heightened enforcement of anti-discrimination laws, and aggressive job creation strategies. Repairing urban labor markets will not be easy. This book shows why. (author abstract) 

  • Individual Author: Wilson, William Julius
    Reference Type: Book Chapter/Book
    Year: 1997

    Wilson, one of our foremost authorities on race and poverty, challenges decades of liberal and conservative pieties to look squarely at the devastating effects that joblessness has had on our urban ghettos. Marshaling a vast array of data and the personal stories of hundreds of men and women, Wilson persuasively argues that problems endemic to America's inner cities--from fatherless households to drugs and violent crime--stem directly from the disappearance of blue-collar jobs in the wake of a globalized economy. Wilson's achievement is to portray this crisis as one that affects all Americans, and to propose solutions whose benefits would be felt across our society. At a time when welfare is ending and our country's racial dialectic is more strained than ever, When Work Disappears is a sane, courageous, and desperately important work. (publisher abstract)

    Wilson, one of our foremost authorities on race and poverty, challenges decades of liberal and conservative pieties to look squarely at the devastating effects that joblessness has had on our urban ghettos. Marshaling a vast array of data and the personal stories of hundreds of men and women, Wilson persuasively argues that problems endemic to America's inner cities--from fatherless households to drugs and violent crime--stem directly from the disappearance of blue-collar jobs in the wake of a globalized economy. Wilson's achievement is to portray this crisis as one that affects all Americans, and to propose solutions whose benefits would be felt across our society. At a time when welfare is ending and our country's racial dialectic is more strained than ever, When Work Disappears is a sane, courageous, and desperately important work. (publisher abstract)

  • Individual Author: Mead, Lawrence
    Reference Type: Book Chapter/Book
    Year: 1997

    If government tells dependent people how to live today, will we have a more self-reliant society tomorrow? That's the critical question as government increasingly seeks to supervise the lives of poor citizens who are dependent on it, often in return for supporting them. This trend is most visible in welfare policy, where "welfare reform" largely means attempts to require adults receiving assistance to work or stay in school in return for aid. However, it can also be seen in policy toward the homeless, where shelters increasingly set rules for their residents; in education, where states have instituted tougher standards for children; and in drug programs that test addicts for compliance. The drift in antipoverty policy is toward paternalism--the close supervision of the dependent.

    Paternalism has been a major trend in social policy for the past decade, and it has support from the public. But it has received little attention from researchers and policy analysts--until now. The New Paternalism opens up a serious discussion of supervisory methods in antipoverty policy...

    If government tells dependent people how to live today, will we have a more self-reliant society tomorrow? That's the critical question as government increasingly seeks to supervise the lives of poor citizens who are dependent on it, often in return for supporting them. This trend is most visible in welfare policy, where "welfare reform" largely means attempts to require adults receiving assistance to work or stay in school in return for aid. However, it can also be seen in policy toward the homeless, where shelters increasingly set rules for their residents; in education, where states have instituted tougher standards for children; and in drug programs that test addicts for compliance. The drift in antipoverty policy is toward paternalism--the close supervision of the dependent.

    Paternalism has been a major trend in social policy for the past decade, and it has support from the public. But it has received little attention from researchers and policy analysts--until now. The New Paternalism opens up a serious discussion of supervisory methods in antipoverty policy. The book assembles noted policy experts to examine whether programs that set standards for their clients and supervise them closely are better able to help them than traditional programs that leave clients free to live as they please.

    Separate chapters discuss programs to promote work in welfare, prevent teen pregnancy, improve fathers' payment of child support, shelter homeless men in New York City, deter drug addiction, and improve the education of the disadvantaged. Cross-cutting chapters address the management of paternalism, the psychological needs of poor adults, and the tension between paternalism and American politics.

    The authors consider both sides of the debate over this controversial issue. Several chapters address the sensitive question of whether government or private organizations are best able to implement supervisory programs. The conclusions are optimistic but cautious. Most of the authors believe that paternalism can make an important contribution to overcoming poverty. But paternalism is not a panacea, and it makes severe demands on the capacities of government. Supervisory programs are difficult to justify politically and to implement well. (publisher abstract)

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