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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: Gezinski, Lindsay Blair
    Reference Type: Thesis
    Year: 2011

    With the passage of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) in 1996, Congress ended “welfare as we know it” and formally adopted a workfare approach. However, families continue to be trapped in the “low-wage ghetto”. Therefore, research is needed that investigates effective routes out of poverty. Studies have found that welfare recipients with higher educational attainment work more and earn significantly higher income than those with lower educational attainment. However, very little research exists around the relationship between social capital and labor force participation.

    Four research questions guided this study: (1) How do demographic variables affect social capital and human capital among single women who use welfare? (2) How do social capital and human capital affect employment outcome? (3) Do social capital and human capital act as mediators between demographic variables and employment outcome? (4) How do macro-level variables (i.e., city unemployment rate and state TANF policy) affect employment outcome?

    This study...

    With the passage of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) in 1996, Congress ended “welfare as we know it” and formally adopted a workfare approach. However, families continue to be trapped in the “low-wage ghetto”. Therefore, research is needed that investigates effective routes out of poverty. Studies have found that welfare recipients with higher educational attainment work more and earn significantly higher income than those with lower educational attainment. However, very little research exists around the relationship between social capital and labor force participation.

    Four research questions guided this study: (1) How do demographic variables affect social capital and human capital among single women who use welfare? (2) How do social capital and human capital affect employment outcome? (3) Do social capital and human capital act as mediators between demographic variables and employment outcome? (4) How do macro-level variables (i.e., city unemployment rate and state TANF policy) affect employment outcome?

    This study analyzed Wave 2 (2005-2007) data from the Making Connections Cross-Site Survey database. 1,428 women with no spouse/partner present in the household who indicated use of a TANF/welfare office in the last 12 months were selected for inclusion in the study sample. An exploratory factor analysis was conducted to extract factors that underlie the social capital construct and to identify the indicators that were associated with each of those factors. Five social capital factors emerged: support giving social capital, bonding social capital, bridging social capital, value sharing social capital, and support receiving social capital. Structural equation modeling was used to answer the major research questions in this study. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Bennett, Pamela R.; Cherlin, Andrew J.
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2011

    We investigate the neighborhood contexts in which low-income families negotiate the new environment created by welfare reform. Using data from the Three-City Study and U.S. Census, we follow 1,059 low-income women from 1999 to 2005 tracking their neighborhood quality, employment, and welfare use. Despite living in similar neighborhoods in 1999, women who left welfare experienced larger reductions in neighborhood disadvantage than women who remained on welfare. Likewise, women who left welfare with employment achieved larger increases in neighborhood quality than those who left welfare without work; the latter experiencing neighborhood change no different than those who stayed on welfare. Results indicate that neighborhood conditions are, at minimum, associated with welfare outcomes. We evaluate whether improvements in residential contexts facilitate transitions to economic self-sufficiency, but also test the reverse possibility. Findings suggest that neighborhood quality increases after women leave welfare, though we cannot reject the possibility that better neighborhoods lead to...

    We investigate the neighborhood contexts in which low-income families negotiate the new environment created by welfare reform. Using data from the Three-City Study and U.S. Census, we follow 1,059 low-income women from 1999 to 2005 tracking their neighborhood quality, employment, and welfare use. Despite living in similar neighborhoods in 1999, women who left welfare experienced larger reductions in neighborhood disadvantage than women who remained on welfare. Likewise, women who left welfare with employment achieved larger increases in neighborhood quality than those who left welfare without work; the latter experiencing neighborhood change no different than those who stayed on welfare. Results indicate that neighborhood conditions are, at minimum, associated with welfare outcomes. We evaluate whether improvements in residential contexts facilitate transitions to economic self-sufficiency, but also test the reverse possibility. Findings suggest that neighborhood quality increases after women leave welfare, though we cannot reject the possibility that better neighborhoods lead to better outcomes. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: DePolt, Richard A.; Moffitt, Robert A.; Ribar, David C.
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2009

    We examine how participation in the Food Stamp and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Programs is associated with self-reported household food hardships, using data from a longitudinal survey of low-income families living in Boston, Chicago and San Antonio. In addition to the measures of hardships and program participation, the survey includes measures of income, wealth, social resources, disability, physical health and family structure, measures that help us to account for selection between recipient and non-recipient households. For our multivariate analyses, we estimate multiple indicator multiple cause models that are modified to incorporate discrete outcome variables and to account for longitudinal data. Estimates from these models reveal that participation in the Food Stamp Program is associated with fewer food hardships, while participation in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program has no detectable association with hardships. (Author abstract)

    We examine how participation in the Food Stamp and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Programs is associated with self-reported household food hardships, using data from a longitudinal survey of low-income families living in Boston, Chicago and San Antonio. In addition to the measures of hardships and program participation, the survey includes measures of income, wealth, social resources, disability, physical health and family structure, measures that help us to account for selection between recipient and non-recipient households. For our multivariate analyses, we estimate multiple indicator multiple cause models that are modified to incorporate discrete outcome variables and to account for longitudinal data. Estimates from these models reveal that participation in the Food Stamp Program is associated with fewer food hardships, while participation in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program has no detectable association with hardships. (Author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Meara, Ellen; Frank, Richard
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2006

    The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act imposed work requirements on welfare recipients. Using 1999-2001 data from Boston, Chicago, and San Antonio, we compared the labor market and welfare experience of women with four employment barriers: poor mental health, moderate to heavy drug and alcohol use, a child with a behavior problem, and a child under the age of 3. Women with poor mental health and drug and alcohol users were much less likely to move into work than other groups, and more likely to be sanctioned for noncompliance with welfare requirements in 2000-2001 as federal work participation requirements increased. (author abstract)

    The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act imposed work requirements on welfare recipients. Using 1999-2001 data from Boston, Chicago, and San Antonio, we compared the labor market and welfare experience of women with four employment barriers: poor mental health, moderate to heavy drug and alcohol use, a child with a behavior problem, and a child under the age of 3. Women with poor mental health and drug and alcohol users were much less likely to move into work than other groups, and more likely to be sanctioned for noncompliance with welfare requirements in 2000-2001 as federal work participation requirements increased. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Cherlin, Andrew J.; Fomby, Paula
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2005

    Data from a two-wave survey of low-income families in Boston, Chicago, and San Antonio are used to replicate recent reports of a modest increase in the number of low-income children living in two-adult families and to analyze the increase. We find that most of the increase occurred through the addition of a man other than the biological father to the household and that more of it occurred through cohabitation than through marriage. Moreover, across the two waves, cohabiting and marital unions were highly unstable. We review research on stepfamilies and on instability in children’s living arrangements, and we conclude that the kinds of two-adult families being formed in these low-income central-city neighborhoods may not benefit children as much as policy-makers hope. In addition, we investigate the associations between marital and cohabiting transitions, on the one hand, and transitions into and out of Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) receipt, employment, and Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) usage between the two waves on the other. We find that marital transitions...

    Data from a two-wave survey of low-income families in Boston, Chicago, and San Antonio are used to replicate recent reports of a modest increase in the number of low-income children living in two-adult families and to analyze the increase. We find that most of the increase occurred through the addition of a man other than the biological father to the household and that more of it occurred through cohabitation than through marriage. Moreover, across the two waves, cohabiting and marital unions were highly unstable. We review research on stepfamilies and on instability in children’s living arrangements, and we conclude that the kinds of two-adult families being formed in these low-income central-city neighborhoods may not benefit children as much as policy-makers hope. In addition, we investigate the associations between marital and cohabiting transitions, on the one hand, and transitions into and out of Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) receipt, employment, and Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) usage between the two waves on the other. We find that marital transitions are related to TANF and employment transitions but that cohabiting transitions are not. We suggest that low-income mothers may view marriage as more of an economic partnership than cohabitation and may expect more of an economic contribution from a husband than from a cohabiting partner. (author abstract)

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