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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: Greenfield, Jennifer C.; Reichman, Nancy; Cole, Paula M.; Galgiani, Hannah
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2019

    Colorado is poised this year to consider passing a comprehensive paid family and medical leave measure. Despite several unsuccessful attempts in recent years, changes in the state legislature and in voter sentiment point to building momentum in support of the policy. Passing it would make Colorado the seventh state in the U.S., plus the District of Columbia, to pass a statewide initiative. Drawing from data about similar programs in other states, this report examines what a comprehensive paid family and medical leave initiative might look like in Colorado. Specifically, we estimate that approximately 5% of eligible workers per year are likely to access leave benefits under the new program, with an average weekly benefit of about $671. To fund the program, workers and private-sector employers will each need to contribute about .34% of wages each year. At this premium rate, the program will be able to fully fund a wage replacement scheme that matches or comes close to matching wages of the lowest earners, with a maximum weekly benefit cap of either $1000 or $1200/week. Overall, the...

    Colorado is poised this year to consider passing a comprehensive paid family and medical leave measure. Despite several unsuccessful attempts in recent years, changes in the state legislature and in voter sentiment point to building momentum in support of the policy. Passing it would make Colorado the seventh state in the U.S., plus the District of Columbia, to pass a statewide initiative. Drawing from data about similar programs in other states, this report examines what a comprehensive paid family and medical leave initiative might look like in Colorado. Specifically, we estimate that approximately 5% of eligible workers per year are likely to access leave benefits under the new program, with an average weekly benefit of about $671. To fund the program, workers and private-sector employers will each need to contribute about .34% of wages each year. At this premium rate, the program will be able to fully fund a wage replacement scheme that matches or comes close to matching wages of the lowest earners, with a maximum weekly benefit cap of either $1000 or $1200/week. Overall, the program seems feasible and is likely to bring a number of important benefits to workers and employers across the state, in exchange for a modest investment in the form of premium contributions. (Author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Rothwell, David W. ; Ottusch, Timothy ; Finders, Jennifer K.
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2019

    Children who grow up in income poverty experience increased risks for lifelong hardship. These hardships include low birth weight, increased infant mortality, emotional and behavioral problems, delayed cognitive development, lower academic achievement, and high school dropout, to name a few. The effects of income poverty are intergenerational, such that children in poverty are substantially more likely to be poor as adults. A recent review summarizing the past 50 years of research on this subject, highlights toxic stress and compromised immunity as the most conclusive mechanisms by which low income shapes later outcomes. The consequences of income poverty justify why more research is needed on the nature and extent of childhood poverty and interventions to reduce it. Within the existing literature, the vast majority of child poverty research uses household income as the sole indicator of well-being. Yet, families rely on a range of economic resources beyond income to meet basic needs and support children's development. Reeves and colleagues have recognized that poverty and...

    Children who grow up in income poverty experience increased risks for lifelong hardship. These hardships include low birth weight, increased infant mortality, emotional and behavioral problems, delayed cognitive development, lower academic achievement, and high school dropout, to name a few. The effects of income poverty are intergenerational, such that children in poverty are substantially more likely to be poor as adults. A recent review summarizing the past 50 years of research on this subject, highlights toxic stress and compromised immunity as the most conclusive mechanisms by which low income shapes later outcomes. The consequences of income poverty justify why more research is needed on the nature and extent of childhood poverty and interventions to reduce it. Within the existing literature, the vast majority of child poverty research uses household income as the sole indicator of well-being. Yet, families rely on a range of economic resources beyond income to meet basic needs and support children's development. Reeves and colleagues have recognized that poverty and disadvantage are complex and should be measured with multiple dimensions. Specifically, assets—financial and non-financial—shape family functioning and children's development in ways that are unique and independent from income. We begin by defining assets to include financial capital such as savings and stocks, along with non-financial assets such as real estate holdings, vehicles, etc. We then focus on financial assets as especially important to household finances because they can be easily liquidated to smooth consumption during times of economic hardship. (Author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Farrell, Mary; Morrison, Carly
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2019

    The Behavioral Interventions for Child Support Services (BICS) project aims to improve federally funded child support services by increasing program efficiency, developing interventions informed by behavioral science, and building a culture of rapid-cycle evaluation. The Texas Office of the Attorney General (OAG) and the BICS team developed an intervention designed to increase the percentage of employed parents who made payments during the first months after an order was established. The intervention, called Start Smart, was designed to inform parents about the likely delay in income withholding and to help them plan to make payments during that time. Start Smart used strategies from behavioral science to clarify the process and encourage parents to make required payments. Start Smart was implemented in four regions of Texas: Amarillo, Dallas, El Paso, and Paris/Tyler.

    Start Smart increased the percentage of parents who made payments in the first month after an order was established by 4.9 percentage points, from 56.5 percent to 61.4 percent. This difference is...

    The Behavioral Interventions for Child Support Services (BICS) project aims to improve federally funded child support services by increasing program efficiency, developing interventions informed by behavioral science, and building a culture of rapid-cycle evaluation. The Texas Office of the Attorney General (OAG) and the BICS team developed an intervention designed to increase the percentage of employed parents who made payments during the first months after an order was established. The intervention, called Start Smart, was designed to inform parents about the likely delay in income withholding and to help them plan to make payments during that time. Start Smart used strategies from behavioral science to clarify the process and encourage parents to make required payments. Start Smart was implemented in four regions of Texas: Amarillo, Dallas, El Paso, and Paris/Tyler.

    Start Smart increased the percentage of parents who made payments in the first month after an order was established by 4.9 percentage points, from 56.5 percent to 61.4 percent. This difference is statistically significant at the 10 percent level (which suggests that it is due to the Start Smart intervention rather than random chance), and represents a 9 percent increase in payments made during the first month. Start Smart did not produce statistically significant differences in payments made in the second or third month. (Edited author overview)

  • Individual Author: Berger, Lawrence M. (ed.); Cancian, Maria (ed.); Magnuson, Katherine (ed.)
    Reference Type: Book Chapter/Book
    Year: 2018

    The 2016 presidential election has brought to the fore proposals to fundamentally restructure the U.S. anti-poverty safety net. Even though much of the current debate centers on shrinking or eliminating federal programs, we believe it is necessary and useful to explore alternatives that represent new approaches and significant innovations to existing policy and programs. This double issue of RSF: The Russell Sage Foundation Journal of the Social Sciences builds on and extends the scholarly conversation on the state of current U.S. anti-poverty policy by high-lighting a collection of related innovative and specific policy proposals for the United States. Well before the election, the authors of the articles in this volume were explicitly tasked with proposing substantially new policies solidly grounded in social science evidence that have the potential to transform anti-poverty policy. Assuming the goal to be reducing poverty among the U.S. population, we asked what new ideas should be seriously considered. The authors responded with carefully crafted proposals that tackle poverty...

    The 2016 presidential election has brought to the fore proposals to fundamentally restructure the U.S. anti-poverty safety net. Even though much of the current debate centers on shrinking or eliminating federal programs, we believe it is necessary and useful to explore alternatives that represent new approaches and significant innovations to existing policy and programs. This double issue of RSF: The Russell Sage Foundation Journal of the Social Sciences builds on and extends the scholarly conversation on the state of current U.S. anti-poverty policy by high-lighting a collection of related innovative and specific policy proposals for the United States. Well before the election, the authors of the articles in this volume were explicitly tasked with proposing substantially new policies solidly grounded in social science evidence that have the potential to transform anti-poverty policy. Assuming the goal to be reducing poverty among the U.S. population, we asked what new ideas should be seriously considered. The authors responded with carefully crafted proposals that tackle poverty from a variety of perspectives. Some of these proposals are more of a departure from existing policies than others, some borrow from other countries or revive old ideas, some are narrow in focus and others much broader, but all seek to move anti-poverty efforts into new territory. (Author abstract) 

    Contents:

    Introduction

    Anti-Poverty Policy Innovations: New Proposals for Addressing Poverty in the United States

    Lawrence Berger, Maria Cancian, and Katherine Magnuson

    Part I. Tax and Transfer Programs 

    A Universal Child Allowance: A Plan to Reduce Poverty and Income Instability Among Children in the United States

    H. Luke Shaefer, Sophie Collyer, Greg Duncan, Kathryn Edin, Irwin Garfinkel, David Harris, Timothy M. Smeeding, Jane Waldfogel, Christopher Wimer, and Hirokazu Yoshikawa

    Cash for Kids

    Marianne P. Bitler, Annie Laurie Hines, and Marianne Page

    A Targeted Minimum Benefit Plan: A New Proposal to Reduce Poverty Among Older Social Security Recipients

    Pamela Herd, Melissa Favreault, Madonna Harrington Meyer, and Timothy M. Smeeding

    Reforming Policy for Single-Parent Families to Reduce Child Poverty

    Maria Cancian and Daniel R. Meyer

    Reconstructing the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program to More Effectively Alleviate Food Insecurity in the United States 

    Craig Gundersen, Brent Kreider, and John V. Pepper

    A Renter's Tax Credit to Curtail the Affordable Housing Crisis 

    Sara Kimberlin, Laura Tach, and Christopher Wimer

    The Rainy Day Earned Income Tax Credit: A Reform to Boost Financial Security by Helping Low-Wage Workers Build Emergency Savings

    Sarah Halpern-Meekin, Sara Sternberg Greene, Ezra Levin, and Kathryn Edin

     

  • Individual Author: Schaefer, H. Luke; Collyer, Sophie; Duncan, Greg; Edin, Kathryn; Garfinkel, Irwin; Harris, David; Smeeding, Timothy M.; Waldfogel, Jane; Wimer, Christopher; Yoshikawa, Hirokazu
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2018

    To reduce child poverty and income instability, and eliminate extreme poverty among families with children in the United States, we propose converting the Child Tax Credit and child tax exemption into a universal, monthly child allowance. Our proposal is based on principles we argue should undergird the design of such policies: universality, accessibility, adequate payment levels, and more generous support for young children. Whether benefits should decline with additional children to reflect economies of scale is a question policymakers should consider. Analyzing 2015 Current Population Survey data, we estimate our proposed child allowance would reduce child poverty by about 40 percent, deep child poverty by nearly half, and would effectively eliminate extreme child poverty. Annual net cost estimates range from $66 billion to $105 billion. (Author abstract)

    To reduce child poverty and income instability, and eliminate extreme poverty among families with children in the United States, we propose converting the Child Tax Credit and child tax exemption into a universal, monthly child allowance. Our proposal is based on principles we argue should undergird the design of such policies: universality, accessibility, adequate payment levels, and more generous support for young children. Whether benefits should decline with additional children to reflect economies of scale is a question policymakers should consider. Analyzing 2015 Current Population Survey data, we estimate our proposed child allowance would reduce child poverty by about 40 percent, deep child poverty by nearly half, and would effectively eliminate extreme child poverty. Annual net cost estimates range from $66 billion to $105 billion. (Author abstract)

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