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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: Bowie, Stan L.; Dopwell, Donna M.
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2013

    The mixed-method study examined welfare-reliant, female heads of households and the multilayered and persistent barriers they face in their attempts to obtain employment to sustain their families. The 30 respondents, aged 25–34, were African Americans and Latinas receiving various forms of public assistance and were plagued by a host of serious problems. The African American respondents were native-born American citizens who spoke only English, and almost all the Latina respondents spoke only Spanish and were born in South or Central America, Cuba, or the West Indies. A higher level of interpersonal violence was reported among the African American cohort. There were other strong contrasts between the cohorts, including the mean number of children, educational level, work experience, and type of housing. The theoretical framework for the study was liberationist feminist social work practice. The results revealed an alarming array of simultaneously occurring “metastressors” that are complex, comprehensive, suffocating to many respondents, and more difficult to resolve over time....

    The mixed-method study examined welfare-reliant, female heads of households and the multilayered and persistent barriers they face in their attempts to obtain employment to sustain their families. The 30 respondents, aged 25–34, were African Americans and Latinas receiving various forms of public assistance and were plagued by a host of serious problems. The African American respondents were native-born American citizens who spoke only English, and almost all the Latina respondents spoke only Spanish and were born in South or Central America, Cuba, or the West Indies. A higher level of interpersonal violence was reported among the African American cohort. There were other strong contrasts between the cohorts, including the mean number of children, educational level, work experience, and type of housing. The theoretical framework for the study was liberationist feminist social work practice. The results revealed an alarming array of simultaneously occurring “metastressors” that are complex, comprehensive, suffocating to many respondents, and more difficult to resolve over time. The study challenges the assumptions on which the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families operates, including its political origins and its current regulations that mandate time limits on assistance in spite of persistent national economic problems. The issue of intersectionality is explored in relation to gender and racial oppression in the United States and in terms of promoting positive social change among oppressed groups. (author abstract)

  • 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: Cecchini, Simone; Madariaga, Aldo
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2011

    This document summarizes experience with conditional cash transfer or “co-responsibility” (CCT) programmes in Latin America and the Caribbean, over a period lasting more than 15 years. During this time, CCTs have consolidated and spread through the region’s various countries as a tool of choice for poverty-reduction policy.

    According to the ECLAC database of non-contributory social protection programmes in Latin America and the Caribbean, CCTs are currently being implemented in 18 of the region’s countries, benefiting over 25 million families (about 113 million people) or 19% of the regional population, at a cost of around 0.4% of regional gross domestic product (GDP).

    The basic structure of CCTs entails the transfer of monetary and nonmonetary resources to families with young children, living in poverty or extreme poverty, on condition that they fulfil specific commitments aimed at improving their human capacities. Despite the, as yet, inconclusive debates on the appropriateness of these programmes and their results in different domains, they have been hailed as...

    This document summarizes experience with conditional cash transfer or “co-responsibility” (CCT) programmes in Latin America and the Caribbean, over a period lasting more than 15 years. During this time, CCTs have consolidated and spread through the region’s various countries as a tool of choice for poverty-reduction policy.

    According to the ECLAC database of non-contributory social protection programmes in Latin America and the Caribbean, CCTs are currently being implemented in 18 of the region’s countries, benefiting over 25 million families (about 113 million people) or 19% of the regional population, at a cost of around 0.4% of regional gross domestic product (GDP).

    The basic structure of CCTs entails the transfer of monetary and nonmonetary resources to families with young children, living in poverty or extreme poverty, on condition that they fulfil specific commitments aimed at improving their human capacities. Despite the, as yet, inconclusive debates on the appropriateness of these programmes and their results in different domains, they have been hailed as representing a major step in connecting poor and indigent families with school-age children to broader and more comprehensive social-protection systems.

    This document, which it is hoped will serve as a basis and input for discussion and progress in building social-protection systems premised on inclusion and universal rights, provides detailed information on the different components of CCTs. It also reviews their main characteristics in terms of the definition and registration of programme users, the targeting mechanisms used, the various types of benefits provided, and the conditionalities attached to them. It then analyses the historical trend of the indicators of CCT investment and coverage, and the information available on their effects in different domains. Lastly, it makes an assessment of the experience and the main challenges that these programmes pose in terms of their sustainability, legal framework, accountability, participation, institutionality and inter-sectoral characteristics. (author abstract)

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