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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: Shaefer, H. Luke; Edin, Kathryn
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2013

    This study documents an increase in the prevalence of extreme poverty among US households with children between 1996 and 2011 and assesses the response of major federal means-tested transfer programs. Extreme poverty is defined using a World Bank metric of global poverty: $2 or less, per person, per day. Using the 1996–2008 panels of the Survey of Income and Program Participation SIPP, we estimate that in mid-2011, 1.65 million households with 3.55 million children were living in extreme poverty in a given month, based on cash income, constituting 4.3 percent of all nonelderly households with children. The prevalence of extreme poverty has risen sharply since 1996, particularly among those most affected by the 1996 welfare reform. Adding SNAP benefits to household income reduces the number of extremely poor households with children by 48.0 percent in mid-2011. Adding SNAP, refundable tax credits, and housing subsidies reduces it by 62.8 percent. (Author abstract)

    This article is based on a...

    This study documents an increase in the prevalence of extreme poverty among US households with children between 1996 and 2011 and assesses the response of major federal means-tested transfer programs. Extreme poverty is defined using a World Bank metric of global poverty: $2 or less, per person, per day. Using the 1996–2008 panels of the Survey of Income and Program Participation SIPP, we estimate that in mid-2011, 1.65 million households with 3.55 million children were living in extreme poverty in a given month, based on cash income, constituting 4.3 percent of all nonelderly households with children. The prevalence of extreme poverty has risen sharply since 1996, particularly among those most affected by the 1996 welfare reform. Adding SNAP benefits to household income reduces the number of extremely poor households with children by 48.0 percent in mid-2011. Adding SNAP, refundable tax credits, and housing subsidies reduces it by 62.8 percent. (Author abstract)

    This article is based on a working paper published by the National Poverty Center at the University of Michigan.

  • Individual Author: Lim, Younghee; DeJohn, Tara V.; Murray, Drew
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2012

    As the United States' economy continues to experience challenges, more families at or near the poverty level fall prey to predatory financial practices. Their vulnerability to these operations is increased by a lack of knowledge of asset-building resources and alternative financial services. This article focuses on Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA)—a free income tax preparation program, which is a vital resource available to low-income families. Unfortunately, VITA is largely underused and often unknown to economically strained families and to the social workers and other professionals to whom these families turn for assistance. This article concludes with policy and practice implications for social workers and other professionals engaged in providing services to financially vulnerable families. (author abstract)

    As the United States' economy continues to experience challenges, more families at or near the poverty level fall prey to predatory financial practices. Their vulnerability to these operations is increased by a lack of knowledge of asset-building resources and alternative financial services. This article focuses on Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA)—a free income tax preparation program, which is a vital resource available to low-income families. Unfortunately, VITA is largely underused and often unknown to economically strained families and to the social workers and other professionals to whom these families turn for assistance. This article concludes with policy and practice implications for social workers and other professionals engaged in providing services to financially vulnerable families. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Shaefer, H. Luke; Song, Xiaoqing; Shanks, Trina R. Williams
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2012

    The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is a refundable credit for low-income workers mainly targeted at families with children. This study uses the Survey of Income and Program Participation’s topical modules on Assets and Liabilities to examine associations between the EITC expansions during the early 1990s and the unsecured debt of the households of single mothers. We use two difference-in-differences comparisons over the study period 1988–1999, first comparing single mothers to single childless women, and then comparing single mothers with two or more children to single mothers with exactly one child. In both cases we find that the EITC expansions are associated with a relative decline in the unsecured debt of affected households of single mothers. While not direct evidence of a causal relationship, this is suggestive evidence that single mothers may have used part of their EITC to limit the growth of their unsecured debt during this period. (author abstract)

    This article is based on a...

    The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is a refundable credit for low-income workers mainly targeted at families with children. This study uses the Survey of Income and Program Participation’s topical modules on Assets and Liabilities to examine associations between the EITC expansions during the early 1990s and the unsecured debt of the households of single mothers. We use two difference-in-differences comparisons over the study period 1988–1999, first comparing single mothers to single childless women, and then comparing single mothers with two or more children to single mothers with exactly one child. In both cases we find that the EITC expansions are associated with a relative decline in the unsecured debt of affected households of single mothers. While not direct evidence of a causal relationship, this is suggestive evidence that single mothers may have used part of their EITC to limit the growth of their unsecured debt during this period. (author abstract)

    This article is based on a working paper published by the National Poverty Center at the University of Michigan.

  • Individual Author: Chaney, Cassandra
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2012

    Since the 1960s an increasing number of Black children are reared by poor unmarried parents on welfare. To reduce poverty, minimize welfare dependence, and provide a monetary incentive for low-income, unmarried parents to wed, the government established the earned income tax credit (EITC). Since its establishment in 1975, however, scholars know very little about whether this credit can increase Black marriage among low-income couples with children. To address this paucity, I support and extend Mayhew's (1980, 1981) micro-sociological and macro-sociological perspectives by highlighting the individual, interpersonal, and sociological factors that encourage or discourage Black marriage. I examined the qualitative responses of 17 Blacks between the ages of 23 and 61 years regarding whether they believed an increased child dependent tax credit (limited to married parents) would increase the number of married parent Black families. Qualitative analyses of the data revealed that although some participants were hopeful that the EITC could increase the number of Black marriages, most did...

    Since the 1960s an increasing number of Black children are reared by poor unmarried parents on welfare. To reduce poverty, minimize welfare dependence, and provide a monetary incentive for low-income, unmarried parents to wed, the government established the earned income tax credit (EITC). Since its establishment in 1975, however, scholars know very little about whether this credit can increase Black marriage among low-income couples with children. To address this paucity, I support and extend Mayhew's (1980, 1981) micro-sociological and macro-sociological perspectives by highlighting the individual, interpersonal, and sociological factors that encourage or discourage Black marriage. I examined the qualitative responses of 17 Blacks between the ages of 23 and 61 years regarding whether they believed an increased child dependent tax credit (limited to married parents) would increase the number of married parent Black families. Qualitative analyses of the data revealed that although some participants were hopeful that the EITC could increase the number of Black marriages, most did not believe the EITC would substantially increase the number of Black marriages because the credit fails to address the intrinsic value of marriage. Supporting qualitative data are presented in connection with each theme. Practical and policy implications for Black marriage are also discussed. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Fitzpatrick, Katie; Thompson, Jeffrey P.
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2010

    This paper explores the interaction between the federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the cost-of-living faced by single mothers. After the 1993 EITC expansion, we identify up to an 8 percentage point increase in labor force participation for single mothers in the lowest cost areas but no discernible response in the highest cost areas. We conclude that the EITC’s welfare-enhancing properties are undermined by the interaction of the program’s fixed national rules and geographic variation in wages and the cost-of-living. In addition, our findings suggest that the EITC does little to reduce joblessness in many of the nation’s largest cities. (author abstract)

    This paper explores the interaction between the federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the cost-of-living faced by single mothers. After the 1993 EITC expansion, we identify up to an 8 percentage point increase in labor force participation for single mothers in the lowest cost areas but no discernible response in the highest cost areas. We conclude that the EITC’s welfare-enhancing properties are undermined by the interaction of the program’s fixed national rules and geographic variation in wages and the cost-of-living. In addition, our findings suggest that the EITC does little to reduce joblessness in many of the nation’s largest cities. (author abstract)

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