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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: Cherlin, Andrew
    Reference Type: Book Chapter/Book
    Year: 2010

    The Marriage-Go-Round illuminates the shifting nature of America's most cherished social institution and explains its striking differences from marriage in other Western countries.

    Andrew J. Cherlin's three decades of study have shown him that marriage in America is a social and political battlefield in a way that it isn’t in other developed countries. Americans marry and divorce more often and have more live-in partners than Europeans, and gay Americans have more interest in legalizing same-sex marriage. The difference comes from Americans’ embrace of two contradictory cultural ideals: marriage, a formal commitment to share one's life with another; and individualism, which emphasizes personal choice and self-development. Religion and law in America reinforce both of these behavioral poles, fueling turmoil in our family life and heated debate in our public life. Cherlin’s incisive diagnosis is an important contribution to the debate and points the way to slowing down the partnership merry-go-round. (author abstract)

    The Marriage-Go-Round illuminates the shifting nature of America's most cherished social institution and explains its striking differences from marriage in other Western countries.

    Andrew J. Cherlin's three decades of study have shown him that marriage in America is a social and political battlefield in a way that it isn’t in other developed countries. Americans marry and divorce more often and have more live-in partners than Europeans, and gay Americans have more interest in legalizing same-sex marriage. The difference comes from Americans’ embrace of two contradictory cultural ideals: marriage, a formal commitment to share one's life with another; and individualism, which emphasizes personal choice and self-development. Religion and law in America reinforce both of these behavioral poles, fueling turmoil in our family life and heated debate in our public life. Cherlin’s incisive diagnosis is an important contribution to the debate and points the way to slowing down the partnership merry-go-round. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Gobillon, Laurent; Selod, Harris
    Reference Type: Book Chapter/Book
    Year: 2014

    Spatial mismatch relates the unemployment and poverty of vulnerable population groups to their remoteness from job opportunities. Although the intuition initially applied to African Americans in US inner cities, spatial mismatch has a broader validity beyond the sole US context. In light of a detailed presentation of the mechanisms at work, we present the main results from various empirical tests of the spatial mismatch theory. Since key aspects of that theory remain to be tested, we also discuss methodological approaches and provide guidance for further research. We derive lessons for policy implications and comment on the appropriateness of related urban policies. (author abstract)

    Spatial mismatch relates the unemployment and poverty of vulnerable population groups to their remoteness from job opportunities. Although the intuition initially applied to African Americans in US inner cities, spatial mismatch has a broader validity beyond the sole US context. In light of a detailed presentation of the mechanisms at work, we present the main results from various empirical tests of the spatial mismatch theory. Since key aspects of that theory remain to be tested, we also discuss methodological approaches and provide guidance for further research. We derive lessons for policy implications and comment on the appropriateness of related urban policies. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Fiszbein, Ariel; Schady, Norbert; Ferriera, Francisco H. G.; Grosh, Margaret; Keleher, Niall; Olinto, Pedro; Skoufias, Emmanuel
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2009

    The potential impact of the global financial crisis of 2008 on living standards in the developing world has given renewed emphasis to the importance of social safety net programs. The right policies can be a smart investment in an uncertain world. This report reviews the evidence on conditional cash transfers (CCTs)—safety net programs that have become popular in developing countries over the last decade. It concludes that CCTs generally have been successful in reducing poverty and encouraging parents to invest in the health and education of their children.

    The CCT programs studied in the report span a range of low- and middle-income countries; large and small programs; and those that work at local, regional, and national levels. Although there are important differences between countries and regions in how CCTs are used, they all share one defining characteristic: they transfer cash while asking beneficiaries to make prespecified investments in child education and health.

    The largest CCTs, such as Brazil’s Bolsa Família and Mexico’s Oportunidades, cover millions of...

    The potential impact of the global financial crisis of 2008 on living standards in the developing world has given renewed emphasis to the importance of social safety net programs. The right policies can be a smart investment in an uncertain world. This report reviews the evidence on conditional cash transfers (CCTs)—safety net programs that have become popular in developing countries over the last decade. It concludes that CCTs generally have been successful in reducing poverty and encouraging parents to invest in the health and education of their children.

    The CCT programs studied in the report span a range of low- and middle-income countries; large and small programs; and those that work at local, regional, and national levels. Although there are important differences between countries and regions in how CCTs are used, they all share one defining characteristic: they transfer cash while asking beneficiaries to make prespecified investments in child education and health.

    The largest CCTs, such as Brazil’s Bolsa Família and Mexico’s Oportunidades, cover millions of households. In Chile and Turkey, CCTs are focused more narrowly on extremely poor and socially excluded people, whereas CCTs in Bangladesh and Cambodia have been used to reduce gender disparities in education. Most recently, CCT pilot programs are being implemented in Sub-Saharan Africa to help alleviate the plight of millions of orphans in the wake of the continent’s devastating HIV/AIDS epidemic. CCTs are proven versatile programs, which largely explains why they have become so popular worldwide.

    This report considers the impact that CCTs have had on current poverty, education, health, and nutrition outcomes. It draws heavily on a large number of carefully constructed impact evaluations of CCT programs. As the authors note, it would not have been possible to write this report without the efforts made by the administrators of CCT programs themselves, a number of academics, and staff at international organizations, including the World Bank, to encourage and sustain these evaluations, and to make the results widely available. This clearly is a legacy worth sustaining.

    By and large, CCTs have increased consumption levels among the poor. As a result, they have resulted in sometimes substantial reductions in poverty among beneficiaries—especially when the transfer has been generous, well targeted, and structured in a way that does not discourage recipients from taking other actions to escape poverty. Because CCTs provide a steady stream of income, they have helped buffer poor households from the worst effects of unemployment, catastrophic illness, and other sudden income shocks. And making cash transfers to women, as virtually all CCTs do, may have increased the bargaining power of women (itself an important goal in many contexts).

    In country after country, school enrollment has increased among CCT beneficiaries—especially among the poorest children, whose enrollment rates at the outset were the lowest. CCT beneficiaries also are more likely to have visited health providers for preventive checkups, to have had their children weighed and measured, and to have completed a schedule of immunizations. These are important accomplishments. Nevertheless, the report shows that the evidence of CCT impacts on final outcomes in health and education—achievement and cognitive development rather than school enrollment, child height for age rather than growth monitoring—is more mixed. An important challenge for the future is better understanding what complementary actions are necessary to ensure that CCTs have greater impact on these final outcomes. This report argues that these complementary actions broadly fall into two categories: policies that improve the quality of the supply of health and education services, and policies that help promote healthier and more stimulating environments for children in their homes.

    Even the best-designed CCT program cannot meet all the needs of a social protection system. It is, after all, only one branch of a larger tree that includes workfare, employment, and social pension programs. The report therefore considers where CCTs should fit within a country’s social protection strategy.

    As the world navigates a period of deepening crisis, it has become vital to design and implement social protection systems that help vulnerable households weather shocks, while maximizing the efforts of developing countries to invest in children. CCTs are not the only programs appropriate for this purpose, but as the report argues, they surely can be a compelling part of the solution. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Attanasio, Orazio; Fitzsimons, Emla; Gomez, Ana
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2005

    Abstract: We estimate the impact on consumption of a large welfare programme in Colombia, Familias en Acción. Our best estimate of the effect takes into account pre-existing differences between treatment and control areas and controls for a wide range of observable characteristics that are likely to affect household consumption.

    Main findings: The impact of the programme on household consumption is large both in rural and urban areas at around 15% of total consumption, most of which is devoted to food. Moreover, cash transfer is spent on "desirable" goods (nutrient-rich food, healthcare and education) and has no significant effect on consumption of "undesirable" goods such as alcohol and tobacco. Consumption of other goods for adults, such as clothes and footwear, has not increased significantly; on the other hand, consumption of footwear and clothes for children has increased. This indicates that the programme benefits children rather than other members of the household. (author abstract)

    Abstract: We estimate the impact on consumption of a large welfare programme in Colombia, Familias en Acción. Our best estimate of the effect takes into account pre-existing differences between treatment and control areas and controls for a wide range of observable characteristics that are likely to affect household consumption.

    Main findings: The impact of the programme on household consumption is large both in rural and urban areas at around 15% of total consumption, most of which is devoted to food. Moreover, cash transfer is spent on "desirable" goods (nutrient-rich food, healthcare and education) and has no significant effect on consumption of "undesirable" goods such as alcohol and tobacco. Consumption of other goods for adults, such as clothes and footwear, has not increased significantly; on the other hand, consumption of footwear and clothes for children has increased. This indicates that the programme benefits children rather than other members of the household. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Lindert, Kathy; Linder, Anja; Hobbs, Jason; de la Brière, Bénédicte
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2007

    This paper is one in a series of World Bank Working Papers that seeks to document the experience of Brazil’s Bolsa Família Program. It highlights the key “nuts and bolts” of designing and implementing the BFP in Brazil’s decentralized context. Like other conditional cash transfers (CCTs), the BFP seeks to help (a) reduce current poverty and inequality, by providing a minimum level of income for extremely poor families; and (b) break the intergenerational transmission of poverty by conditioning these transfers on beneficiary compliance with human capital requirements (school attendance, vaccines, pre-natal visits). The program also seeks to help empower BFP beneficiaries by linking them to other complementary services.

    As the largest conditional cash transfer in the developing world, the BFP has attracted significant attention both in Brazil and beyond. As such, this paper has two key audiences – and two corresponding objectives.

    First, the primary audience is international, given world-wide interest in the Bolsa Família Program. This international target audience...

    This paper is one in a series of World Bank Working Papers that seeks to document the experience of Brazil’s Bolsa Família Program. It highlights the key “nuts and bolts” of designing and implementing the BFP in Brazil’s decentralized context. Like other conditional cash transfers (CCTs), the BFP seeks to help (a) reduce current poverty and inequality, by providing a minimum level of income for extremely poor families; and (b) break the intergenerational transmission of poverty by conditioning these transfers on beneficiary compliance with human capital requirements (school attendance, vaccines, pre-natal visits). The program also seeks to help empower BFP beneficiaries by linking them to other complementary services.

    As the largest conditional cash transfer in the developing world, the BFP has attracted significant attention both in Brazil and beyond. As such, this paper has two key audiences – and two corresponding objectives.

    First, the primary audience is international, given world-wide interest in the Bolsa Família Program. This international target audience thus includes: policy makers, practitioners, and potential future practitioners of CCTs working in other countries who are interested in learning more about Brazil’s experience with the BFP, particularly given its decentralized context. For this audience, the paper highlights some of the key features of the program including:

    • The program as a reform program, which consolidated four pre-reform programs into one, building on Brazil’s decade of experience with CCTs;
    • The size and rapid expansion of the program, now reaching 11.1 million families (over 46 million people), making it the largest program of this type in the world;
    • The very impressive targeting accuracy of the program, and the recently demonstrated impacts on reducing poverty and inequality;
    • The implementation of the BFP in Brazil’s decentralized context and the development and use of innovative performance-based management mechanisms to promote incentives for quality implementation in this context so as to overcome the “principal-agent” dilemma;
    • The role of the BFP as a unifying force in social policy, integrating social policy both horizontally across sectors and vertically across levels of government; and
    • The “natural laboratory for innovation” that has emerged in Brazil’s decentralized context, for experimenting with exit policies and graduation approaches.

    Second, the topic is clearly of interest to audiences in Brazil. As such, we seek to document the evolution of the design and implementation of the BFP under the first Lula Administration, taking stock of the main advances and highlighting key priorities for the future, including:

    • Priority actions for further strengthening of the “basic architecture” of the program: strengthening conditionalities monitoring, fine-tuning targeting, expanding coverage to reduce errors of exclusion, and enhancing oversight and controls; and
    • Possible innovations for the graduation agenda, including: (a) enhancing educational conditionalities (via bonuses for grade completion and graduation and incentives for older children to attend school); and (b) linking BFP beneficiaries to complementary services. (author abstract)

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