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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: 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: Warren, Lewis
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2014

    This paper provides the first nationally representative estimates of how unemployment insurance (UI) generosity in the United States affects the search intensity of unemployed individuals using individual level variation in UI generosity. The paper expands the current literature through fully simulating monetary eligibility and entitlement to unemployment insurance at the individual level where past studies have been unable to examine monetary eligibility and have relied on state variations in the maximum weekly benefit amount which can differ significantly from an individual’s actual benefit amount. To simulate monetary eligibility and entitlement, work histories of unemployed respondents were obtained through fully matching American Time Use Survey respondents to all of their observations in the Current Population Survey, the population from which they are drawn. The results suggest that higher replacement rates are associated with large reductions in time spent searching for a job during normal economic conditions. However, the results are more mitigated during the Great...

    This paper provides the first nationally representative estimates of how unemployment insurance (UI) generosity in the United States affects the search intensity of unemployed individuals using individual level variation in UI generosity. The paper expands the current literature through fully simulating monetary eligibility and entitlement to unemployment insurance at the individual level where past studies have been unable to examine monetary eligibility and have relied on state variations in the maximum weekly benefit amount which can differ significantly from an individual’s actual benefit amount. To simulate monetary eligibility and entitlement, work histories of unemployed respondents were obtained through fully matching American Time Use Survey respondents to all of their observations in the Current Population Survey, the population from which they are drawn. The results suggest that higher replacement rates are associated with large reductions in time spent searching for a job during normal economic conditions. However, the results are more mitigated during the Great Recession and post recession period with higher replacement rates being associated with small and statistically insignificant effects on time spent searching for a job, although these results appear to be partially driven by the years 2009 and 2010 which were at the height of the labor market decline. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Shaefer, H. Luke
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2010

    This article seeks to identify key programmatic barriers to access to Unemployment Insurance (UI) faced by two groups of disadvantaged workers in the United States: those in the lowest wage quintile, and part-time workers who are primary wage earners. Analyses use the 2001 Panel of the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP), a nationally representative, longitudinal survey administered by the United States Census Bureau. Estimates of UI eligibility and receipt are presented for those who enter a spell of unemployment during the panel. Results suggest that a large majority of disadvantaged workers in the United States already meet UI earnings (monetary) requirements, and that barriers to access are more often the result of disadvantaged workers (1) assuming they are ineligible, or (2) not meeting non-monetary eligibility requirements because they voluntarily quit their job or were terminated for cause. Much of the focus in policy debates in the United States remains on reforming UI earnings requirements. If results presented in this article are correct, increasing UI...

    This article seeks to identify key programmatic barriers to access to Unemployment Insurance (UI) faced by two groups of disadvantaged workers in the United States: those in the lowest wage quintile, and part-time workers who are primary wage earners. Analyses use the 2001 Panel of the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP), a nationally representative, longitudinal survey administered by the United States Census Bureau. Estimates of UI eligibility and receipt are presented for those who enter a spell of unemployment during the panel. Results suggest that a large majority of disadvantaged workers in the United States already meet UI earnings (monetary) requirements, and that barriers to access are more often the result of disadvantaged workers (1) assuming they are ineligible, or (2) not meeting non-monetary eligibility requirements because they voluntarily quit their job or were terminated for cause. Much of the focus in policy debates in the United States remains on reforming UI earnings requirements. If results presented in this article are correct, increasing UI access among disadvantaged workers will further require increasing rates of application through expanded knowledge about the programme among disadvantaged workers, and expanding (non-monetary) eligibility for job leavers. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Shaefer, H. Luke; Wu, Liyun
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2011

    Using the Survey of Income and Program Participation, this study examines changing levels of Unemployment Insurance (UI) eligibility and benefits receipt among low-educated, single mothers who entered unemployment between 1990 and 2005. It also examines changing participation in cash welfare and the Food Stamp Program (FSP). Data from 1990–94 and 2001–5 show that low-educated, single mothers who enter unemployment experience an increase in UI eligibility but not an increase in UI benefits receipt, when compared to low-educated, single, childless women who enter unemployment. Because of declining cash assistance receipt during 2001–5, UI becomes a more common income support for this population than cash assistance. Further, the probability of accessing the FSP increases among low-educated, single mothers who enter unemployment in 2001–5. As a result, the proportion of this population accessing benefits from at least one of these programs remains similar across the study period. (author abstract)

    This article is based on a...

    Using the Survey of Income and Program Participation, this study examines changing levels of Unemployment Insurance (UI) eligibility and benefits receipt among low-educated, single mothers who entered unemployment between 1990 and 2005. It also examines changing participation in cash welfare and the Food Stamp Program (FSP). Data from 1990–94 and 2001–5 show that low-educated, single mothers who enter unemployment experience an increase in UI eligibility but not an increase in UI benefits receipt, when compared to low-educated, single, childless women who enter unemployment. Because of declining cash assistance receipt during 2001–5, UI becomes a more common income support for this population than cash assistance. Further, the probability of accessing the FSP increases among low-educated, single mothers who enter unemployment in 2001–5. As a result, the proportion of this population accessing benefits from at least one of these programs remains similar across the study period. (author abstract)

    This article is based on a policy paper published by the W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.

  • Individual Author: Shaefer, Luke; Gould-Werth, Alix; Hertel-Fernandez, Alex; McKenna, Claire
    Reference Type: SSRC Products
    Year: 2013

    On August 19, 2013, the Self-Sufficiency Research Clearinghouse (SSRC) and the National Poverty Center at the University of Michigan co-hosted a Webinar on Unemployment Insurance policies and opportunities. The Webinar, titled Making Unemployment Insurance Work Better for Low-Income Working Families, addressed the factors that influence low-income families’ access to Unemployment Insurance, including monetary eligibility, non-monetary eligibility, and differential take-up. It was designed as a cross-disciplinary discussion, presenting two recent papers and then hearing from the National Employment Law Project about how state policies impact access to Unemployment Insurance benefits for low-wage workers.

    The Webinar was facilitated by H. Luke Shaefer, Ph.D., an assistant professor at the University of Michigan School of Social Work and affiliate at the National Poverty Center of the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy. The two papers were presented by Alix Gould-Werth, Doctoral Candidate in Social Work and Sociology at the University of Michigan and...

    On August 19, 2013, the Self-Sufficiency Research Clearinghouse (SSRC) and the National Poverty Center at the University of Michigan co-hosted a Webinar on Unemployment Insurance policies and opportunities. The Webinar, titled Making Unemployment Insurance Work Better for Low-Income Working Families, addressed the factors that influence low-income families’ access to Unemployment Insurance, including monetary eligibility, non-monetary eligibility, and differential take-up. It was designed as a cross-disciplinary discussion, presenting two recent papers and then hearing from the National Employment Law Project about how state policies impact access to Unemployment Insurance benefits for low-wage workers.

    The Webinar was facilitated by H. Luke Shaefer, Ph.D., an assistant professor at the University of Michigan School of Social Work and affiliate at the National Poverty Center of the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy. The two papers were presented by Alix Gould-Werth, Doctoral Candidate in Social Work and Sociology at the University of Michigan and Alexander Hertel-Fernandez, Doctoral Candidate in Government and Social Policy and graduate fellow in the Multidisciplinary Program in Inequality and Social Policy at Harvard University. Claire McKenna, Policy Analyst at the National Employment Law Project addressed trends in State policies.

    This document is a transcript of the Webinar. The PowerPoint from the Webinar can be found here. A record of the question and answer session from the Webinar can be found here.

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