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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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The SSRC Library includes resources which may be available only via journal subscription. The SSRC may be able to provide users without subscription access to a particular journal with a single use copy of the full text.  Please email the SSRC with your request.

The SSRC Library collection is constantly growing and new research is added regularly. We welcome our users to submit a library item to help us grow our collection in response to your needs.


  • Individual Author: Mead, Lawrence M.
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2012

    How might work levels among low-income men be raised, as they were for welfare mothers in the 1990s? This study expands the relevant literature on both social policy and implementation. Low-skilled men owing child support and ex-offenders returning from prison are already supposed to work but often fail to do so. The reasons include both the recent fall in unskilled wages and the confusion of men’s lives. Existing work programs in child support and criminal justice appear promising, although evaluations are limited. A survey covering most states shows that half or more already have some men’s work programs, usually on a small scale. Field research in six states suggests the political and administrative factors that shape wider implementation of these programs. Work programs should preferably be mandatory, stress work over training, and be combined with improved wage subsidies. The federal government should provide more funding and evaluations. (author abstract)

    How might work levels among low-income men be raised, as they were for welfare mothers in the 1990s? This study expands the relevant literature on both social policy and implementation. Low-skilled men owing child support and ex-offenders returning from prison are already supposed to work but often fail to do so. The reasons include both the recent fall in unskilled wages and the confusion of men’s lives. Existing work programs in child support and criminal justice appear promising, although evaluations are limited. A survey covering most states shows that half or more already have some men’s work programs, usually on a small scale. Field research in six states suggests the political and administrative factors that shape wider implementation of these programs. Work programs should preferably be mandatory, stress work over training, and be combined with improved wage subsidies. The federal government should provide more funding and evaluations. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Shirk, Martha; Bennett, Neil G.; Aber, J. Lawrence
    Reference Type: Book Chapter/Book
    Year: 1999

    In Lives on the Line, Martha Shirk, Neil G. Bennett, and NCCP Director J. Lawrence Aber meld affecting personal profiles with sophisticated demographic analysis to create a vivid portrait of what life is like for more than 14 million American children growing up below the poverty line. In personal profiles of ten families across the nation, from a Pacific Islander family in Hawaii to a homeless family in a wealthy New York City suburb, award-winning journalist Martha Shirk depicts the realities of life for children below the poverty line. She takes readers deep into the lives of families in poverty—lives sometimes marked by childhood abuse, parental loss, and long-term violence—and with each family explores their prospects for moving above the poverty threshold. Along the way, Shirk finds amazing resilience, resourcefulness, and strength of spirit in many of these poor families.

    Neil G. Bennett, Director of Demography for the National Center for Children in Poverty at Columbia University (NCCP), shatters many commonly held stereotypes by analyzing Census Bureau...

    In Lives on the Line, Martha Shirk, Neil G. Bennett, and NCCP Director J. Lawrence Aber meld affecting personal profiles with sophisticated demographic analysis to create a vivid portrait of what life is like for more than 14 million American children growing up below the poverty line. In personal profiles of ten families across the nation, from a Pacific Islander family in Hawaii to a homeless family in a wealthy New York City suburb, award-winning journalist Martha Shirk depicts the realities of life for children below the poverty line. She takes readers deep into the lives of families in poverty—lives sometimes marked by childhood abuse, parental loss, and long-term violence—and with each family explores their prospects for moving above the poverty threshold. Along the way, Shirk finds amazing resilience, resourcefulness, and strength of spirit in many of these poor families.

    Neil G. Bennett, Director of Demography for the National Center for Children in Poverty at Columbia University (NCCP), shatters many commonly held stereotypes by analyzing Census Bureau data to show which American children are most likely to be poor. He reports, for instance, that over 60 percent of poor young children have at least one employed parent, that most poor young children live in suburban or rural areas, and that a parent's graduation from high school is insufficient to insure against poverty. Among his most startling findings are that in the last two decades, the Young Child Poverty Rate grew significantly faster in the suburbs than in urban or rural areas, and that it grew much faster among whites than among blacks.

    J. Lawrence Aber, a nationally recognized expert in child development and social policy, describes the effects of poverty on child development and showcases proven strategies for preventing or reducing child poverty. He also shows us that it is in our national self-interest to address the problem of child poverty by making a smart investment in America's future.

    As a powerful portrait of the effects of poverty on America's children and families, Lives on the Line narrows the gap between “them” and “us.” It will change the way you think about the poor. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Michalopoulos, Charles
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2001

    We know how to get low-income people to go to work: build a strong and growing economy filled with jobs, make work pay through generous tax credits and welfare programs that allow working people to keep more of their benefits, and implement programs with employment and training services and time-limited welfare benefits to encourage people to work. However, we know little about the types of policies that will help people stay employed and increase their earnings over time. This paper seeks to partially fill the gap by pulling together recent evidence on how pre-employment services and financial work incentives can promote sustained employment and earnings growth.

    The paper describes results from 13 programs begun since the early 1990s that share several important characteristics. First, each tested a policy designed to help or encourage single-parent welfare recipients to work. Second, each program now has enough information to assess whether the programs promoted sustained employment and promoted growth in hourly wages or quarterly earnings. Finally, each of the programs...

    We know how to get low-income people to go to work: build a strong and growing economy filled with jobs, make work pay through generous tax credits and welfare programs that allow working people to keep more of their benefits, and implement programs with employment and training services and time-limited welfare benefits to encourage people to work. However, we know little about the types of policies that will help people stay employed and increase their earnings over time. This paper seeks to partially fill the gap by pulling together recent evidence on how pre-employment services and financial work incentives can promote sustained employment and earnings growth.

    The paper describes results from 13 programs begun since the early 1990s that share several important characteristics. First, each tested a policy designed to help or encourage single-parent welfare recipients to work. Second, each program now has enough information to assess whether the programs promoted sustained employment and promoted growth in hourly wages or quarterly earnings. Finally, each of the programs was studied by MDRC using a rigorous experimental research design that many people think gives the most reliable information about the effects of new policies. In these studies, people were assigned at random to either a program group which was required to participate in an employment and training program or was offered a financial work incentive, or a control group which was not. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Brauner, Sarah; Loprest, Pamela J.
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 1999

    Given welfare policies’ greater emphasis on leaving the rolls for work, interest has grown in determining how families that have left the program are faring. State and local governments, policymakers, and others want to know whether those who leave welfare ("leavers") are financially better off than when they were receiving benefits. The primary concern is whether leavers have found jobs and, if so, whether their hourly wages or hours per week are high enough to raise their families out of poverty. Policymakers and researchers would also like to know to what extent leavers are relying on other forms of federal, state, or local assistance.

    Many localities have sought to answer these questions through studies of leavers’ well-being. This brief summarizes findings on employment rates, characteristics of employment, and other determinants of well-being from 11 such studies conducted in Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Ohio (Cuyahoga County), South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin. We focus on employment because of its key role in determining welfare...

    Given welfare policies’ greater emphasis on leaving the rolls for work, interest has grown in determining how families that have left the program are faring. State and local governments, policymakers, and others want to know whether those who leave welfare ("leavers") are financially better off than when they were receiving benefits. The primary concern is whether leavers have found jobs and, if so, whether their hourly wages or hours per week are high enough to raise their families out of poverty. Policymakers and researchers would also like to know to what extent leavers are relying on other forms of federal, state, or local assistance.

    Many localities have sought to answer these questions through studies of leavers’ well-being. This brief summarizes findings on employment rates, characteristics of employment, and other determinants of well-being from 11 such studies conducted in Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Ohio (Cuyahoga County), South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin. We focus on employment because of its key role in determining welfare leavers’ economic well-being. Because of the great number and variety of "leaver studies" being undertaken, we also point out issues to consider in comparing study results.

    Numerous studies of welfare leavers have been published, and more are being released all the time. We attempted to review all publicly available studies that examine employment outcomes. Only studies that clearly described their methodology and reported survey response rates of 50 percent or higher were included. While some studies that meet these criteria may have been missed, this brief presents results from a range of reports. (author introduction)

  • Individual Author: Duncan, Greg J.; Gennetian, Lisa; Morris, Pamela
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2007

    This article contributes to the literature on parental self-sufficiency and child well-being in two ways. First, we bring a novel interdisciplinary perspective to formulating hypotheses about the pathways by which policy-induced changes in the environments in which children are embedded, both within and outside the home, facilitate or harm children’s development. These hypotheses help to organize the contradictory assertions regarding child impacts that have surrounded the debate over welfare reform. Second, we draw on a set of policy experiments to understand the effects of reforms targeting parents’ self-sufficiency on both parents and their children. The random-assignment design of these evaluations provides an unusually strong basis for identifying conditions under which policy-induced increases in employment among low-income and mostly single parents can help or hurt young children’s achievement. (Author introduction)

    This article contributes to the literature on parental self-sufficiency and child well-being in two ways. First, we bring a novel interdisciplinary perspective to formulating hypotheses about the pathways by which policy-induced changes in the environments in which children are embedded, both within and outside the home, facilitate or harm children’s development. These hypotheses help to organize the contradictory assertions regarding child impacts that have surrounded the debate over welfare reform. Second, we draw on a set of policy experiments to understand the effects of reforms targeting parents’ self-sufficiency on both parents and their children. The random-assignment design of these evaluations provides an unusually strong basis for identifying conditions under which policy-induced increases in employment among low-income and mostly single parents can help or hurt young children’s achievement. (Author introduction)

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