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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: Trampe, Paul
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2007

    This paper examines the effect on hours worked of the income-based phase-out of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). It discusses earlier literature on the subject. While the effects on labor force participation of EITC have been thoroughly studied, producing a consensus that the program encourages participation particularly among single women with children, the effect on hours has taken a back seat in most studies. Those who have studied the issue have generally found no effect. A number of those studies, however, were based on a population defined too broadly to indicate anything meaningful for the EITC population, while others seemed to overlook facets of their own data. I include a multiple regression using Current Population Survey Data cases in which family income corresponds to the phase-out range of EITC. Only in the phase-out range – as beneficiaries lose part of their benefits as a percentage of income above the threshold amount – would we expect a negative effect on...

    This paper examines the effect on hours worked of the income-based phase-out of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). It discusses earlier literature on the subject. While the effects on labor force participation of EITC have been thoroughly studied, producing a consensus that the program encourages participation particularly among single women with children, the effect on hours has taken a back seat in most studies. Those who have studied the issue have generally found no effect. A number of those studies, however, were based on a population defined too broadly to indicate anything meaningful for the EITC population, while others seemed to overlook facets of their own data. I include a multiple regression using Current Population Survey Data cases in which family income corresponds to the phase-out range of EITC. Only in the phase-out range – as beneficiaries lose part of their benefits as a percentage of income above the threshold amount – would we expect a negative effect on hours worked. My results show a small negative effect on hours worked for the population in the phase-out range. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Ventry, Dennis J. Jr.
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2000

    This paper uses the political history and pre-history of the EITC to describe how the politics of welfare reform influence tax policies that function as social policy. It suggests that the economic tradeoffs inherent in the formulation of tax-transfer programs are also political tradeoffs. It examines policy choices between costs and labor supply incentives, as well as those between ease of participation and compliance rates. This paper concludes that although economic analysis influenced the creation and development of the EITC, political factors, not economics, animated the history of the program. (author abstract)

    This paper uses the political history and pre-history of the EITC to describe how the politics of welfare reform influence tax policies that function as social policy. It suggests that the economic tradeoffs inherent in the formulation of tax-transfer programs are also political tradeoffs. It examines policy choices between costs and labor supply incentives, as well as those between ease of participation and compliance rates. This paper concludes that although economic analysis influenced the creation and development of the EITC, political factors, not economics, animated the history of the program. (author abstract)

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