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  • Individual Author: Johnson, Rucker C.; Kalil, Ariel; Dunifon, Rachel E.
    Reference Type: Book Chapter/Book
    Year: 2010

    Johnson, Kalil, and Dunifon focus on this tenuous work-family balance, or lack thereof, and its effects on children. What they discover is that work per se is not detrimental for single-mother families. In fact, it brings stability, routine, and a sense of pride to working women and their families. However, they also find that the nature of the work— the type of work, number of hours worked, and the flexibility of the job—is a key factor in maintaining an acceptable balance and in promoting positive outcomes for their children.

    Basing their findings on the Women's Employment Study (WES), the authors provide evidence of the links between maternal work experiences and longer-run trajectories of child well-being. When a working mother is not on a regular work schedule, has hours that fluctuate from week to week, or works at a full-time job that presents limited wage growth and menial tasks, her children's behavior is more likely to deteriorate. Similar results are seen for those who bounce from job to job or are laid off or fired, since this churning often leads to frequent...

    Johnson, Kalil, and Dunifon focus on this tenuous work-family balance, or lack thereof, and its effects on children. What they discover is that work per se is not detrimental for single-mother families. In fact, it brings stability, routine, and a sense of pride to working women and their families. However, they also find that the nature of the work— the type of work, number of hours worked, and the flexibility of the job—is a key factor in maintaining an acceptable balance and in promoting positive outcomes for their children.

    Basing their findings on the Women's Employment Study (WES), the authors provide evidence of the links between maternal work experiences and longer-run trajectories of child well-being. When a working mother is not on a regular work schedule, has hours that fluctuate from week to week, or works at a full-time job that presents limited wage growth and menial tasks, her children's behavior is more likely to deteriorate. Similar results are seen for those who bounce from job to job or are laid off or fired, since this churning often leads to frequent residential moves. The aspects of child well-being that the unique data from the WES allow the authors to examine include externalizing and internalizing behavioral problems, disruptive behavior at school, school absenteeism, grade repetition, and placement in special education.

    Johnson, Kalil, and Dunifon conclude that more employment opportunities offering the flexibility required by working parents to balance their work and family lives, along with affordable and safe housing, health insurance, and reliable child care, are needed to bolster the economic security and child well-being of low-income working families.

    Overall, this book sheds light on whether one of TANF's original goals—putting low-income mothers on a path to economic growth—is being met. (Publisher abstract)

    Contents

    1. The Road to Welfare Reform

    The Ideological Divide on Helping the Poor

    The New Welfare Bill

    The Response: What about the Children?

    Surprising Results: Caseloads Plummet

    The Low-Wage Job Market

    Mothers’ Work and Children’s Development

    The Focus of this Book

    1. The Women's Employment Study

    The Policy Context in Michigan

    The Data Source: Women’s Employment Study

    Measures

    Snapshot of the Study Participants

    The Connection between Mothers’ Employment and Changes in Child Development

    Empirical Strategy

    1. The Effect of Low-Income Mothers' Employment on Children

    The Juggling Act

    Unpredictable Work Schedules Associated with Behavior Problems

    Job Churn and Associated Risks for Children

    Not All Work Is Detrimental

    Effects of Other Measures

    Recap of Main Results

    1. Conclusions and Policy Implications

    Remaining Puzzles

    Anticipating the Future

    Promising Options – Improving Job Retention and Advancement for Low-Income Working Parents

    Beyond Intervention: Strengthening the Safety Net

     

  • Individual Author: Shirk, Martha; Bennett, Neil G.; Aber, J. Lawrence
    Reference Type: Book Chapter/Book
    Year: 1999

    In Lives on the Line, Martha Shirk, Neil G. Bennett, and NCCP Director J. Lawrence Aber meld affecting personal profiles with sophisticated demographic analysis to create a vivid portrait of what life is like for more than 14 million American children growing up below the poverty line. In personal profiles of ten families across the nation, from a Pacific Islander family in Hawaii to a homeless family in a wealthy New York City suburb, award-winning journalist Martha Shirk depicts the realities of life for children below the poverty line. She takes readers deep into the lives of families in poverty—lives sometimes marked by childhood abuse, parental loss, and long-term violence—and with each family explores their prospects for moving above the poverty threshold. Along the way, Shirk finds amazing resilience, resourcefulness, and strength of spirit in many of these poor families.

    Neil G. Bennett, Director of Demography for the National Center for Children in Poverty at Columbia University (NCCP), shatters many commonly held stereotypes by analyzing Census Bureau...

    In Lives on the Line, Martha Shirk, Neil G. Bennett, and NCCP Director J. Lawrence Aber meld affecting personal profiles with sophisticated demographic analysis to create a vivid portrait of what life is like for more than 14 million American children growing up below the poverty line. In personal profiles of ten families across the nation, from a Pacific Islander family in Hawaii to a homeless family in a wealthy New York City suburb, award-winning journalist Martha Shirk depicts the realities of life for children below the poverty line. She takes readers deep into the lives of families in poverty—lives sometimes marked by childhood abuse, parental loss, and long-term violence—and with each family explores their prospects for moving above the poverty threshold. Along the way, Shirk finds amazing resilience, resourcefulness, and strength of spirit in many of these poor families.

    Neil G. Bennett, Director of Demography for the National Center for Children in Poverty at Columbia University (NCCP), shatters many commonly held stereotypes by analyzing Census Bureau data to show which American children are most likely to be poor. He reports, for instance, that over 60 percent of poor young children have at least one employed parent, that most poor young children live in suburban or rural areas, and that a parent's graduation from high school is insufficient to insure against poverty. Among his most startling findings are that in the last two decades, the Young Child Poverty Rate grew significantly faster in the suburbs than in urban or rural areas, and that it grew much faster among whites than among blacks.

    J. Lawrence Aber, a nationally recognized expert in child development and social policy, describes the effects of poverty on child development and showcases proven strategies for preventing or reducing child poverty. He also shows us that it is in our national self-interest to address the problem of child poverty by making a smart investment in America's future.

    As a powerful portrait of the effects of poverty on America's children and families, Lives on the Line narrows the gap between “them” and “us.” It will change the way you think about the poor. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Holzer, Harry
    Reference Type: Book Chapter/Book
    Year: 1996

    A very important contribution to the field of labor economics, and in particular to the understanding of the labor market for workers with relatively low skill levels. I think we have the sense that the market looks bad, but haven't been clear on how bad it is, or how it got that way. What Employers Want provides some of the answers and identifies the important questions. It is essential reading. —Jeffrey S. Zax, University of Colorado at Boulder

    The substantial deterioration in employment and earnings among the nation's less-educated workers, especially minorities and younger males in the nation's big cities, has been tentatively ascribed to a variety of causes: an increase in required job skills, the movement of companies from the cities to the suburbs, and a rising unwillingness to hire minority job seekers. What Employers Want is the first book to replace conjecture about today's job market with first-hand information gleaned from employers about who gets hired. Drawn from a survey of over 3,000 employers in four major metropolitan areas—Los Angeles, Boston, Atlanta,...

    A very important contribution to the field of labor economics, and in particular to the understanding of the labor market for workers with relatively low skill levels. I think we have the sense that the market looks bad, but haven't been clear on how bad it is, or how it got that way. What Employers Want provides some of the answers and identifies the important questions. It is essential reading. —Jeffrey S. Zax, University of Colorado at Boulder

    The substantial deterioration in employment and earnings among the nation's less-educated workers, especially minorities and younger males in the nation's big cities, has been tentatively ascribed to a variety of causes: an increase in required job skills, the movement of companies from the cities to the suburbs, and a rising unwillingness to hire minority job seekers. What Employers Want is the first book to replace conjecture about today's job market with first-hand information gleaned from employers about who gets hired. Drawn from a survey of over 3,000 employers in four major metropolitan areas—Los Angeles, Boston, Atlanta, and Detroit—this volume provides a wealth of data on what jobs are available to the less-educated, in what industries, what skills they require, where they are located, what they pay, and how they are filled.

    The evidence points to a dramatic surge in suburban, white-collar jobs. The manufacturing industry—once a steady employer of blue-collar workers—has been eclipsed by the expanding retail trade and service industries, where the vast majority of jobs are in clerical, managerial, or sales positions. Since manufacturing establishments have been the most likely employers to move from the central cities to the suburbs, the shortage of jobs for low-skill urban workers is particularly acute. In the central cities, the problem is compounded and available jobs remain vacant because employers increasingly require greater cognitive and social skills as well as specific job-related experience. Holzer reveals the extent to which minorities are routinely excluded by employer recruitment and screening practices that rely heavily on testing, informal referrals, and stable work histories. The inaccessible location and discriminatory hiring patterns of suburban employers further limit the hiring of black males in particular, while earnings, especially for minority females, remain low.

    Proponents of welfare reform often assume that stricter work requirements and shorter eligibility periods will effectively channel welfare recipients toward steady employment and off federal subsidies. What Employers Want directly challenges this premise and demonstrates that only concerted efforts to close the gap between urban employers and inner city residents can produce healthy levels of employment in the nation's cities. Professor Holzer outlines the measures that will be necessary—targeted education and training programs, improved transportation and job placement, heightened enforcement of anti-discrimination laws, and aggressive job creation strategies. Repairing urban labor markets will not be easy. This book shows why. (author abstract) 

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