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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: Edmiston, Kelly D.
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2013

    The worst recession in U.S. postwar history, starting in late 2007, confronted low- and moderate-income families and individuals with distinct challenges. To address the severe lack of data on the "LMI," population, the Kansas City Fed launched its LMI Survey in 2009.

    Distributed to more than 700 organizations that provide services to the LMI population, the Survey elicits a wealth of qualitative reporting. It also produces quantitative data, including several quarterly indexes that track changes in LMI financial conditions over time.

    Edmiston summarizes insights from the Survey on how the recession and anemic recovery have affected job availability for the LMI population, affordable housing, access to credit and demand for basic services. The findings are useful for policymakers seeking to promote financial success among the 30 million U.S. families classified as LMI. (author abstract)

    The worst recession in U.S. postwar history, starting in late 2007, confronted low- and moderate-income families and individuals with distinct challenges. To address the severe lack of data on the "LMI," population, the Kansas City Fed launched its LMI Survey in 2009.

    Distributed to more than 700 organizations that provide services to the LMI population, the Survey elicits a wealth of qualitative reporting. It also produces quantitative data, including several quarterly indexes that track changes in LMI financial conditions over time.

    Edmiston summarizes insights from the Survey on how the recession and anemic recovery have affected job availability for the LMI population, affordable housing, access to credit and demand for basic services. The findings are useful for policymakers seeking to promote financial success among the 30 million U.S. families classified as LMI. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Dickert-Conlin, Stacy; Fitzpatrick, Katie; Tiehen, Laura
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2012

    In 2004 the U.S. Department of Agriculture began a large-scale advertising campaign to increase participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) by increasing awareness about the program. Despite this and other large-scale outreach efforts for federal programs targeted at eligible nonparticipants, the role of information in program participation is not well established. Paying careful attention to the potential endogeneity of advertising placement, we use variation over time and within states to estimate the effect of the advertising on caseloads, applications, approved applications, and denied applications. We find that radio advertisements are positively correlated with county-level caseloads in a sample that represents nearly every U.S. county. Six months after radio advertising in a county, the number of individuals receiving SNAP is 2 to 3 percent higher. With a smaller sample of counties on SNAP applications, approvals, and denials, we find limited evidence that SNAP is positively correlated with overall applications. However, approved applications are...

    In 2004 the U.S. Department of Agriculture began a large-scale advertising campaign to increase participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) by increasing awareness about the program. Despite this and other large-scale outreach efforts for federal programs targeted at eligible nonparticipants, the role of information in program participation is not well established. Paying careful attention to the potential endogeneity of advertising placement, we use variation over time and within states to estimate the effect of the advertising on caseloads, applications, approved applications, and denied applications. We find that radio advertisements are positively correlated with county-level caseloads in a sample that represents nearly every U.S. county. Six months after radio advertising in a county, the number of individuals receiving SNAP is 2 to 3 percent higher. With a smaller sample of counties on SNAP applications, approvals, and denials, we find limited evidence that SNAP is positively correlated with overall applications. However, approved applications are not higher following radio advertisement exposure and denied applications increase. One way to reconcile the fact that caseloads are higher but new enrollments are not is that increased information from the advertising campaign may reduce exits from the program. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Stieglitz, Ali; Johnson, Amy
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2001

    Mathematica Policy Research, Inc. (MPR), in collaboration with the Urban Institute, has examined what local communities in Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, and Oregon have done to improve the coordination of this response system. This report, funded by the Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, focuses specifically on the strategies that the child support and public assistance agencies in these sites have taken to improve the interagency coordination of information and services for victims of domestic violence with regard to the child support collection process, both for domestic violence victims who want exemption from this process and those who want to collect child support safely. Sometimes this coordination of effort extends to others, such as court personnel or staff from local domestic violence service organizations. The study's primary goal is to offer guidance for policymakers and agency staff in other states as they design and implement interagency strategies to help victims pursue child support safely. Given...

    Mathematica Policy Research, Inc. (MPR), in collaboration with the Urban Institute, has examined what local communities in Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, and Oregon have done to improve the coordination of this response system. This report, funded by the Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, focuses specifically on the strategies that the child support and public assistance agencies in these sites have taken to improve the interagency coordination of information and services for victims of domestic violence with regard to the child support collection process, both for domestic violence victims who want exemption from this process and those who want to collect child support safely. Sometimes this coordination of effort extends to others, such as court personnel or staff from local domestic violence service organizations. The study's primary goal is to offer guidance for policymakers and agency staff in other states as they design and implement interagency strategies to help victims pursue child support safely. Given its focused purpose, the study does not attempt to present a comprehensive analysis of child support enforcement policies, domestic violence issues, or the outcomes that resulted from the initiatives in our study sites. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Farrell, Mary; Opcin, Selen; Fishman, Michael
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2001

    Since 1993, welfare recipients have been leaving the welfare rolls for work in record numbers. From January 1993 to January 1998, welfare caseloads declined by 33 percent nationally, and several studies have estimated that over half of the adults who have left welfare have entered the labor market.(1) The inflow of welfare recipients into the labor market can be attributed to two basic factors: welfare reform and the strong economy. Welfare reform is widely perceived to have begun with the passage of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) in mid-1996, which increased the number of welfare recipients who were required to seek work. But even prior to this legislation, many states were reshaping their Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) programs under waivers, which likely increased the number of welfare recipients entering the labor force in at least some of these states. In...

    Since 1993, welfare recipients have been leaving the welfare rolls for work in record numbers. From January 1993 to January 1998, welfare caseloads declined by 33 percent nationally, and several studies have estimated that over half of the adults who have left welfare have entered the labor market.(1) The inflow of welfare recipients into the labor market can be attributed to two basic factors: welfare reform and the strong economy. Welfare reform is widely perceived to have begun with the passage of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) in mid-1996, which increased the number of welfare recipients who were required to seek work. But even prior to this legislation, many states were reshaping their Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) programs under waivers, which likely increased the number of welfare recipients entering the labor force in at least some of these states. In addition, the strong economy from 1993 to 1998 increased the availability of low-skill jobs and undoubtedly lured many welfare recipients into the low-skill labor market.

    Several other factors may have contributed to changes in labor market participation of welfare recipients and are worth mentioning. First, the federal government expanded the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) for working low-income families in the early- and mid-1990s, which most likely encouraged some welfare recipients to enter the labor force. Second, the minimum wage increased in 1997, which could have offset downward wage pressure from the entry of welfare recipients into the labor force. Third, some regions of the country experienced significant changes in population, which reduced or increased the number of low-skill workers in these areas. Finally, the recession of the early 1990s created a pool of unemployed low-skill workers who were available to take new jobs when the economy began to recover.

    Policy-makers have been concerned about whether enough jobs will be available to employ the additional welfare recipients entering the labor market as a result of welfare reform. If a surplus of jobs is not available in particular areas, welfare recipients’ entry into the labor force might reduce low-skill wages and displace some workers. Policy-makers are especially concerned about the impact of welfare reform on rural and small metropolitan labor markets, because these markets might be less able to absorb the inflow of welfare recipients than urban labor markets.

    The Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) in the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) contracted with The Lewin Group to examine how well rural and small metropolitan labor markets can absorb welfare recipients, and to the extent feasible, estimate the impact of welfare reform on rural and small-metropolitan regions since 1993. This study uses an economic model to estimate the impact of welfare reform and improvements in the economy on the low-skill labor market, where most welfare recipients seek work. A major challenge facing researchers in this area is to distinguish between entry due to reforms (“welfare push”) and entry due to the strong economy (“demand pull”). This decomposition is necessary if we are to anticipate future conditions in the low-skill labor market, when the economy might not be so strong. We attempted such a decomposition in this report. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Schreiner, Mark; Clancy, Margaret; Sherraden, Michael
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2002

    The American Dream Demonstration (ADD) is the first systematic study of Individual Development Account (IDA) programs. IDAs are special accounts wherein savings are matched for the poor.

    While saving is not easy for anyone, it is more difficult for the poor because they have few resources and because they lack access to some public policy mechanisms, such as tax-benefited retirement accounts, that subsidize saving. IDAs are designed to increase savings incentives for the poor. Savings in IDAs are matched if used for home ownership, post-secondary education, microenterprise, or other approved asset uses. Participants also receive financial education and support from IDA staff.

    Do IDAs work? ADD suggests that the poor can save and accumulate assets in IDAs:

    Average monthly net deposits per participant were $19.07.

    The average participant saved about $1 for every $2 that could have been matched.

    The average participant made a deposit in about 6 of every 12 months.

    With an average match rate of about 2:1, participants accumulated...

    The American Dream Demonstration (ADD) is the first systematic study of Individual Development Account (IDA) programs. IDAs are special accounts wherein savings are matched for the poor.

    While saving is not easy for anyone, it is more difficult for the poor because they have few resources and because they lack access to some public policy mechanisms, such as tax-benefited retirement accounts, that subsidize saving. IDAs are designed to increase savings incentives for the poor. Savings in IDAs are matched if used for home ownership, post-secondary education, microenterprise, or other approved asset uses. Participants also receive financial education and support from IDA staff.

    Do IDAs work? ADD suggests that the poor can save and accumulate assets in IDAs:

    Average monthly net deposits per participant were $19.07.

    The average participant saved about $1 for every $2 that could have been matched.

    The average participant made a deposit in about 6 of every 12 months.

    With an average match rate of about 2:1, participants accumulated approximately $700 per year in IDAs. (author abstract)

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