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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: Williams, Sonya; Hendra, Richard
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2018

    Programs designed to help disadvantaged workers improve their labor-market prospects may have effects beyond improvements in employment rates and income. One possible supplementary effect is improvements in subjective well-being, or how participants feel about their current life situations. Subjective well-being is important because there are social costs related to lower levels of well-being, and because a person’s outlook has been demonstrated to have an effect on his or her future behavior. The Subsidized and Transitional Employment Demonstration (STED) is designed to investigate the effects of subsidized and transitional employment programs on both financial and nonfinancial well-being. The STED project is evaluating a total of eight subsidized employment programs in seven locations across the United States, all of which aim to improve participants’ long-term success in the labor market. The programs target groups considered “hard to employ” (recipients of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families [TANF], people with criminal records, young people who are neither in school nor...

    Programs designed to help disadvantaged workers improve their labor-market prospects may have effects beyond improvements in employment rates and income. One possible supplementary effect is improvements in subjective well-being, or how participants feel about their current life situations. Subjective well-being is important because there are social costs related to lower levels of well-being, and because a person’s outlook has been demonstrated to have an effect on his or her future behavior. The Subsidized and Transitional Employment Demonstration (STED) is designed to investigate the effects of subsidized and transitional employment programs on both financial and nonfinancial well-being. The STED project is evaluating a total of eight subsidized employment programs in seven locations across the United States, all of which aim to improve participants’ long-term success in the labor market. The programs target groups considered “hard to employ” (recipients of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families [TANF], people with criminal records, young people who are neither in school nor working, noncustodial parents, and others), and they use subsidies to give participants opportunities to learn employment skills while working in supportive settings, or to help them get a foot in the door with employers. Most of the programs also provide support services to help participants address personal barriers to steady work. (Author abstract) 

  • Individual Author: Busso, Matias; Gregory, Jesse; Kline, Patrick
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2013

    This article empirically assesses the incidence and efficiency of Round 1 of the federal urban Empowerment Zone (EZ) program using confidential microdata from the Decennial Census and the Longitudinal Business Database. Using rejected and future applicants to the EZ program as controls, we find that EZ designation substantially increased employment in zone neighborhoods and generated wage increases for local workers without corresponding increases in population or the local cost of living. The results suggest the efficiency costs of the first round o EZs were relatively modest. (author abstract)

    This article empirically assesses the incidence and efficiency of Round 1 of the federal urban Empowerment Zone (EZ) program using confidential microdata from the Decennial Census and the Longitudinal Business Database. Using rejected and future applicants to the EZ program as controls, we find that EZ designation substantially increased employment in zone neighborhoods and generated wage increases for local workers without corresponding increases in population or the local cost of living. The results suggest the efficiency costs of the first round o EZs were relatively modest. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Wood, Robert G.; Moore, Quinn; Clarkwest, Andrew
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2011

    Building Strong Families (BSF), a program of relationship skills education for unwed parents, has been found in a rigorous random assignment evaluation to have limited effects on couples who signed up for the program (Wood, McConnell, et al. 2010). Averaging results across the eight local programs that participated in the evaluation, BSF had no effect on the couples’ relationship quality or on the likelihood that they would remain romantically involved or get married 15 months after they enrolled in the program. When impacts were examined separately for the eight programs, only one was found to have a consistent pattern of positive effects on couples’ relationships, while another was found to have negative effects.

    These results, however, leave us with an unanswered question of wide interest, because not all couples randomly assigned to receive BSF services actually participated. The core BSF service was group workshops on relationship skills, and across all evaluation sites about 45 percent of the couples assigned to the program group never attended even one workshop...

    Building Strong Families (BSF), a program of relationship skills education for unwed parents, has been found in a rigorous random assignment evaluation to have limited effects on couples who signed up for the program (Wood, McConnell, et al. 2010). Averaging results across the eight local programs that participated in the evaluation, BSF had no effect on the couples’ relationship quality or on the likelihood that they would remain romantically involved or get married 15 months after they enrolled in the program. When impacts were examined separately for the eight programs, only one was found to have a consistent pattern of positive effects on couples’ relationships, while another was found to have negative effects.

    These results, however, leave us with an unanswered question of wide interest, because not all couples randomly assigned to receive BSF services actually participated. The core BSF service was group workshops on relationship skills, and across all evaluation sites about 45 percent of the couples assigned to the program group never attended even one workshop session. BSF was a voluntary program and voluntary programs, particularly those serving low-income families, often have low participation rates (McCurdy and Daro 2001; Myers et al. 1992; Garvey et al. 2006). Even so, it is natural to ask whether BSF had any effects on the couples who did attend group sessions.

    The analysis finds no strong evidence of effects on couples who attended group sessions. Among those who attended at least one group session, there were no statistically significant effects on the key relationship outcomes. Among the smaller group of couples who attended at least half of the group sessions offered, there was no strong evidence of effects, with one exception. BSF appears to have increased the likelihood that these couples would be living together (married or unmarried) at the 15-month follow-up—with an impact on this outcome of 7 to 10 percentage points. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Morris, Pamela; Duncan, Greg J.; Rodrigues, Christopher
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2011

    Social scientists do not agree on the size and nature of the causal impacts of parental income on children's achievement. We revisit this issue using a set of welfare and antipoverty experiments conducted in the 1990s. We utilize an instrumental variables strategy to leverage the variation in income and achievement that arises from random assignment to the treatment group to estimate the causal effect of income on child achievement. Our estimates suggest that a $1,000 increase in annual income increases young children's achievement by 5%–6% of a standard deviation. As such, our results suggest that family income has a policy-relevant, positive impact on the eventual school achievement of preschool children. (author abstract)

    Social scientists do not agree on the size and nature of the causal impacts of parental income on children's achievement. We revisit this issue using a set of welfare and antipoverty experiments conducted in the 1990s. We utilize an instrumental variables strategy to leverage the variation in income and achievement that arises from random assignment to the treatment group to estimate the causal effect of income on child achievement. Our estimates suggest that a $1,000 increase in annual income increases young children's achievement by 5%–6% of a standard deviation. As such, our results suggest that family income has a policy-relevant, positive impact on the eventual school achievement of preschool children. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Snipes, Jason C.; Holton, Glee Ivory; Doolittle, Fred; Sztejnberg, Laura
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2006

    Project Graduation Really Achieves Dreams (GRAD) is an ambitious education reform initiative designed to improve academic achievement, high school graduation rates, and rates of college attendance for low-income students. Recognizing that high schools inherit problems that have arisen earlier in the education pipeline, Project GRAD intervenes throughout an entire “feeder pattern” of elementary and middle schools that send students into each high school. This report presents results of MDRC’s multiyear evaluation of the effects of Project GRAD on student progress at three high schools in Houston (the initiative’s original site) and at high schools in two other school districts (Columbus, Ohio, and Atlanta, Georgia). A companion report discusses findings for Project GRAD elementary schools in four cities.

    Project GRAD schools at all levels build support in the community for school improvement and college attendance, implement a classroom management program, provide students with access to needed social services, and receive special support from local Project GRAD...

    Project Graduation Really Achieves Dreams (GRAD) is an ambitious education reform initiative designed to improve academic achievement, high school graduation rates, and rates of college attendance for low-income students. Recognizing that high schools inherit problems that have arisen earlier in the education pipeline, Project GRAD intervenes throughout an entire “feeder pattern” of elementary and middle schools that send students into each high school. This report presents results of MDRC’s multiyear evaluation of the effects of Project GRAD on student progress at three high schools in Houston (the initiative’s original site) and at high schools in two other school districts (Columbus, Ohio, and Atlanta, Georgia). A companion report discusses findings for Project GRAD elementary schools in four cities.

    Project GRAD schools at all levels build support in the community for school improvement and college attendance, implement a classroom management program, provide students with access to needed social services, and receive special support from local Project GRAD organizations. Project GRAD elementary schools implement specific reading and math curricula, along with enhanced professional development for teachers. At the high school level, Project GRAD’s model assumes that better-prepared students would come from the Project GRAD feeder schools, would benefit from special academic counseling and summer academic enrichment in high school, and would qualify for a scholarship to attend college, which is the “cornerstone” of the Project GRAD reform. (author overview)

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