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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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The SSRC Library includes resources which may be available only via journal subscription. The SSRC may be able to provide users without subscription access to a particular journal with a single use copy of the full text.  Please email the SSRC with your request.

The SSRC Library collection is constantly growing and new research is added regularly. We welcome our users to submit a library item to help us grow our collection in response to your needs.


  • Individual Author: Gould-Werth, Alix; Shaefer, H. Luke
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2013

    Unemployment Insurance (UI) is the major social insurance program that protects against lost earnings resulting from involuntary unemployment. Existing literature finds that low-earning unemployed workers experience difficulty accessing UI benefits. The most prominent policy reform designed to increase rates of monetary eligibility, and thus UI receipt, among these unemployed workers is the Alternative Base Period (ABP). In 2009, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act sought to increase use of the ABP, making ABP adoption a necessary precondition for states to receive their share of the $7 billion targeted at UI programs. By January 2013, 40 states and the District of Columbia had adopted the ABP despite the absence of an evaluation of ABP efficacy using nationally representative data. This study analyzes Current Population Survey data from 1987 to 2011 to assess the efficacy of the ABP in increasing UI receipt among low-educated unemployed workers. We used a natural-experiment design to capture the combined behavioral and mechanical effects of the policy change. We found no...

    Unemployment Insurance (UI) is the major social insurance program that protects against lost earnings resulting from involuntary unemployment. Existing literature finds that low-earning unemployed workers experience difficulty accessing UI benefits. The most prominent policy reform designed to increase rates of monetary eligibility, and thus UI receipt, among these unemployed workers is the Alternative Base Period (ABP). In 2009, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act sought to increase use of the ABP, making ABP adoption a necessary precondition for states to receive their share of the $7 billion targeted at UI programs. By January 2013, 40 states and the District of Columbia had adopted the ABP despite the absence of an evaluation of ABP efficacy using nationally representative data. This study analyzes Current Population Survey data from 1987 to 2011 to assess the efficacy of the ABP in increasing UI receipt among low-educated unemployed workers. We used a natural-experiment design to capture the combined behavioral and mechanical effects of the policy change. We found no association between state-level ABP adoption and individual UI receipt for all unemployed workers. However, among part-time unemployed workers with less than a high school degree, adoption of the ABP was associated with a 2.8 percentage point increase in the probability of UI receipt. (author abstract)

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

  • Individual Author: Feldman, Andrew R.
    Reference Type: Book Chapter/Book
    Year: 2011

    Catalyzed by welfare reform legislation in 1996, welfare systems across the nation shifted to a work-first approach aimed at moving recipients quickly into unsubsidized employment. Yet today, almost a decade and a half after those changes, we still know little about which frontline practices are most effective within the work-first framework. In particular, why are some work-first employment programs more successful at helping individuals get and keep jobs? Insights into that question can help states and localities better serve the more than two million American families currently on the welfare rolls.

    This is a case study of how New York City's welfare-to-work programs were managed and implemented in the mid 2000s. It is a performance analysis, using both qualitative and quantitative methods to examine the operations and performance of 26 nonprofit and for-profit welfare-to-work programs. The book draws on individual-level data on more than 14,000 participants, and the use of random assignment creates a natural experiment that assists in comparing program performance. (...

    Catalyzed by welfare reform legislation in 1996, welfare systems across the nation shifted to a work-first approach aimed at moving recipients quickly into unsubsidized employment. Yet today, almost a decade and a half after those changes, we still know little about which frontline practices are most effective within the work-first framework. In particular, why are some work-first employment programs more successful at helping individuals get and keep jobs? Insights into that question can help states and localities better serve the more than two million American families currently on the welfare rolls.

    This is a case study of how New York City's welfare-to-work programs were managed and implemented in the mid 2000s. It is a performance analysis, using both qualitative and quantitative methods to examine the operations and performance of 26 nonprofit and for-profit welfare-to-work programs. The book draws on individual-level data on more than 14,000 participants, and the use of random assignment creates a natural experiment that assists in comparing program performance. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Owens, Ann; Sampson, Robert J.
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2013

    The effects of the Great Recession on individuals and workers are well studied. Many reports document how and why individuals became more likely to be unemployed, to be in poverty, or to face foreclosure.

    But how have neighborhoods fared during the Great Recession? Although most research has focused on individual-level outcomes, many of the conventional narratives about the Great Recession are in fact neighborhood-level narratives. In discussing the housing crisis, for example, we don’t just focus on individuals facing foreclosure but on entire neighborhoods that were hard hit by the housing crisis, where one can find house after house on the same streets all in foreclosure. Likewise, the unemployment crisis is often understood to be spatially clustered, with areas that depend disproportionately on construction, manufacturing, and other heavily-affected industries typically presumed to be especially hard hit.  (author abstract)

    The effects of the Great Recession on individuals and workers are well studied. Many reports document how and why individuals became more likely to be unemployed, to be in poverty, or to face foreclosure.

    But how have neighborhoods fared during the Great Recession? Although most research has focused on individual-level outcomes, many of the conventional narratives about the Great Recession are in fact neighborhood-level narratives. In discussing the housing crisis, for example, we don’t just focus on individuals facing foreclosure but on entire neighborhoods that were hard hit by the housing crisis, where one can find house after house on the same streets all in foreclosure. Likewise, the unemployment crisis is often understood to be spatially clustered, with areas that depend disproportionately on construction, manufacturing, and other heavily-affected industries typically presumed to be especially hard hit.  (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Wandner, Stephen A.
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2013

    Based on surveys of state workforce and unemployment insurance (UI) administrators, this study examines how the public workforce system responded to declining funding after the Great Recession. Funding for workforce programs declined sharply, while demand for services remained high. Most states did not supplement federal funding. Instead, they reduced the number of workers served, changed the mix of services offered, and replaced training and more intensive services with less intensive services. UI programs continued paying benefits, but because program administration did not keep pace with benefit payments, states responded by reducing UI staffing and increasing automation. (author abstract)

    Based on surveys of state workforce and unemployment insurance (UI) administrators, this study examines how the public workforce system responded to declining funding after the Great Recession. Funding for workforce programs declined sharply, while demand for services remained high. Most states did not supplement federal funding. Instead, they reduced the number of workers served, changed the mix of services offered, and replaced training and more intensive services with less intensive services. UI programs continued paying benefits, but because program administration did not keep pace with benefit payments, states responded by reducing UI staffing and increasing automation. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Jacobson, Louis; LaLonde, Robert J.
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2013

    Training programs provide opportunities for low-income individuals to qualify for better jobs and enter the middle class. These programs also provide opportunities for workers who lost long-held jobs to qualify for new positions that can offset a substantial fraction of their earnings losses. Although millions of workers seek out career and technical training options in the pursuit of financial security and better lives, many ultimately choose programs that do not suit their needs. Some individuals do not complete their training programs, some find that their new skills do not match the needs of local employers, while many others, uncertain of the outcomes, hesitate to invest time and money into training programs altogether. Too many workers are making poor choices in training, but fortunately, this problem can be resolved by helping workers select programs that they are more likely to complete and that are more likely to raise their earnings potential. This paper proposes a state-by-state solution, relying on a competitive framework to encourage states to help prospective...

    Training programs provide opportunities for low-income individuals to qualify for better jobs and enter the middle class. These programs also provide opportunities for workers who lost long-held jobs to qualify for new positions that can offset a substantial fraction of their earnings losses. Although millions of workers seek out career and technical training options in the pursuit of financial security and better lives, many ultimately choose programs that do not suit their needs. Some individuals do not complete their training programs, some find that their new skills do not match the needs of local employers, while many others, uncertain of the outcomes, hesitate to invest time and money into training programs altogether. Too many workers are making poor choices in training, but fortunately, this problem can be resolved by helping workers select programs that they are more likely to complete and that are more likely to raise their earnings potential. This paper proposes a state-by-state solution, relying on a competitive framework to encourage states to help prospective trainees make better-informed choices. The plan will increase the return on training investments by developing the data and measures necessary to provide the information prospective trainees need, by presenting the information in user-friendly “report cards,” by providing help for prospective trainees to use the information effectively, and by creating incentives for states to implement permanent information systems once they prove cost-effective. Using a mix of online systems coupled with assistance from career counselors, the ultimate goal of this proposal is to provide unambiguous evidence about how information systems can improve training outcomes for prospective trainees. With the earnings divide between skilled and unskilled workers at a historic high, it is imperative that we raise overall workforce skills in order to enhance America’s competitiveness and ensure economic growth for all Americans. (author abstract)

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