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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: Denk, Oliver; Hagemann, Robert P.; Lenain, Patrick; Somma, Valentin
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2013

    Income inequality and relative poverty in the United States are among the highest in the OECD and have substantially increased over the past decades. These developments have been associated with a number of other worrying statistics, including low intergenerational social mobility and weak real income growth for many households. A more inclusive pattern of growth would require less pronounced gaps in outcomes and opportunities across social groups and a broader sharing of the benefits of growth. The present paper analyses the causes of US income inequality and relative poverty in an OECD context, especially the role of the tax-and-transfer system, and suggests public policies to promote inclusive growth. To a significant degree, high income inequality is attributable to the large dispersion of earned income, which should be addressed by reforming education, so as to provide disadvantaged students with the skills needed to fully realise their potential. In addition, taxes and transfers contribute less to income redistribution than in other OECD countries. If well designed, reforms...

    Income inequality and relative poverty in the United States are among the highest in the OECD and have substantially increased over the past decades. These developments have been associated with a number of other worrying statistics, including low intergenerational social mobility and weak real income growth for many households. A more inclusive pattern of growth would require less pronounced gaps in outcomes and opportunities across social groups and a broader sharing of the benefits of growth. The present paper analyses the causes of US income inequality and relative poverty in an OECD context, especially the role of the tax-and-transfer system, and suggests public policies to promote inclusive growth. To a significant degree, high income inequality is attributable to the large dispersion of earned income, which should be addressed by reforming education, so as to provide disadvantaged students with the skills needed to fully realise their potential. In addition, taxes and transfers contribute less to income redistribution than in other OECD countries. If well designed, reforms that promote inclusive growth could also help reduce the market distortions resulting from the current tax-and-transfer system. In particular, phasing out personal and corporate tax expenditures that disproportionately benefit high earners would lower income inequality and improve resource allocation. As well, social transfers could be more effective in alleviating poverty through better targeting of the truly needy while reducing administrative complexity. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Buss, James A.
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2010

    From 1987 to 2007 the rich got richer. This study documents this trend and then examines whether the poor have gotten poorer. It finds that the per capita income of the poor has remained virtually constant. One reason for this outcome is the growing proportion of the poor who are unrelated individuals. Also, the relative income share of the poor decreased, and their per capita income deficit increased. Thus in relative terms the average poor person has gotten poorer. In the late 1990s incomes of poor families remained fairly constant because wage gains were offset by declines in welfare. (author abstract)

    From 1987 to 2007 the rich got richer. This study documents this trend and then examines whether the poor have gotten poorer. It finds that the per capita income of the poor has remained virtually constant. One reason for this outcome is the growing proportion of the poor who are unrelated individuals. Also, the relative income share of the poor decreased, and their per capita income deficit increased. Thus in relative terms the average poor person has gotten poorer. In the late 1990s incomes of poor families remained fairly constant because wage gains were offset by declines in welfare. (author abstract)

  • 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: Berger, Lawrence M.; Heintze, Theresa ; Naidich, Wendy B.; Meyers, Marcia K.
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2009

    We investigate associations of housing assistance with housing and food-related hardship among low-income single-mother households using data from the National Survey of America’s Families (N = 5,396). Results from instrumental variables models suggest that receipt of unit-based assistance, such as traditional public housing, is associated with a large decrease in rent burden and modest decreases in difficulty paying rent or utilities and residential crowding. Receipt of tenant-based assistance, such as housing vouchers or certificates, is associated with a modest increase in housing stability but also with modest increases in rent burden and difficulty paying rent or utilities. We find no associations between either type of housing assistance and food related hardship. (author abstract)

    We investigate associations of housing assistance with housing and food-related hardship among low-income single-mother households using data from the National Survey of America’s Families (N = 5,396). Results from instrumental variables models suggest that receipt of unit-based assistance, such as traditional public housing, is associated with a large decrease in rent burden and modest decreases in difficulty paying rent or utilities and residential crowding. Receipt of tenant-based assistance, such as housing vouchers or certificates, is associated with a modest increase in housing stability but also with modest increases in rent burden and difficulty paying rent or utilities. We find no associations between either type of housing assistance and food related hardship. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Congress of the United States Congressional Budget Office
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2013

    The federal government devotes roughly one-sixth of its spending to 10 major means-tested programs and tax credits, which provide cash payments or assistance in obtaining health care, food, housing, or education to people with relatively low income or few assets. Those programs and credits consist of the following:

    - Medicaid,

    - The low-income subsidy (LIS) for Part D of Medicare (the part of Medicare that provides prescription drug benefits),

    - The refundable portion of the earned income tax credit (EITC),

    - The refundable portion of the child tax credit (CTC),

    - Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

    - Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF),

    - The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly called the Food Stamp program),

    - Child nutrition programs,

    - Housing assistance programs, and

    - The Federal Pell Grant Program.

    As shown in this report and an accompanying infographic, in 2012, federal spending on those programs and tax credits...

    The federal government devotes roughly one-sixth of its spending to 10 major means-tested programs and tax credits, which provide cash payments or assistance in obtaining health care, food, housing, or education to people with relatively low income or few assets. Those programs and credits consist of the following:

    - Medicaid,

    - The low-income subsidy (LIS) for Part D of Medicare (the part of Medicare that provides prescription drug benefits),

    - The refundable portion of the earned income tax credit (EITC),

    - The refundable portion of the child tax credit (CTC),

    - Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

    - Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF),

    - The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly called the Food Stamp program),

    - Child nutrition programs,

    - Housing assistance programs, and

    - The Federal Pell Grant Program.

    As shown in this report and an accompanying infographic, in 2012, federal spending on those programs and tax credits totaled $588 billion. (Certain larger federal benefit programs, such as Social Security and Medicare, are not considered means-tested programs because they are not limited to people with specific amounts of income or assets.)

    Total federal spending on those 10 programs (adjusted to exclude the effects of inflation) rose more than tenfold—or by an average of about 6 percent a year—in the four decades since 1972 (when only half of the programs existed). As a share of the economy, federal spending on those programs grew from 1 percent to almost 4 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) over that period. (For ease of presentation, this report frequently uses the term “programs” to encompass both the spending programs and the tax credits.) (author abstract)

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