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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: Lerman, Robert I.
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2005

    Building up assets and avoiding excessive debt can help families insure against unforeseen disruptions, achieve economic independence, and reach the middle class. Assets are especially important for low income families because they can spend assets on necessities when unemployment (or another shock) suddenly reduces their incomes. Some authors label as "asset poor" those who lack the assets to replace three months of income (e.g., Caner and Wolff 2004); families also need assets to secure loans during income shortfalls. According to a recent paper by James Sullivan (2004), unemployed families with assets often borrow to maintain their consumption levels. Without assets, their consumption declines, partly because they have trouble borrowing- access to $500 loan reduces hardship as much as 300% increase in income (Mayer and Jencks 1989).

    Have low- and moderate-income families been able to turn asset-building objects into reality? Or do American families do too little saving and investing? This brief examines two national data sets that include representative samples of...

    Building up assets and avoiding excessive debt can help families insure against unforeseen disruptions, achieve economic independence, and reach the middle class. Assets are especially important for low income families because they can spend assets on necessities when unemployment (or another shock) suddenly reduces their incomes. Some authors label as "asset poor" those who lack the assets to replace three months of income (e.g., Caner and Wolff 2004); families also need assets to secure loans during income shortfalls. According to a recent paper by James Sullivan (2004), unemployed families with assets often borrow to maintain their consumption levels. Without assets, their consumption declines, partly because they have trouble borrowing- access to $500 loan reduces hardship as much as 300% increase in income (Mayer and Jencks 1989).

    Have low- and moderate-income families been able to turn asset-building objects into reality? Or do American families do too little saving and investing? This brief examines two national data sets that include representative samples of American families.

    First, we ask what levels of assets and liabilities one should expect for low- and moderate-income families choosing a sound saving and investment strategy. Theoretical considerations suggest the importance of life cycle factors in the ability to accumulate assets. next we examine the assets that American families do too little saving and investing? This brief examines two national data sets that include representative samples of American families actually own and the debt that they owe. The focus is on age profiles of low-income families and of families headed by less- educated individuals. Third, we analyze the variation across families and consider which families achieve healthy balance sheets in spite of low long-term incomes and/or low education. Fourth is the role of debt that may limit families ability to reach sound levels of net worth. The concluding section summarizes the findings and highlights unanswered questions about asset formation for low- to moderate-income American families. (author introduction)

  • Individual Author: McKernan, Signe-Mary; Chen, Henry
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2005

    Expanding opportunity through asset building can help less-advantaged families by raising living standards and generating precautionary savings. Public and nonprofit communities that encourage opportunity should pursue policies that help low- and moderate-income families build up their human, physical, and financial assets. However, not all asset-building policies can or should be pursued. It is imperative that the government and philanthropic communities, with their limited means, find programs and policies that increase the welfare of low-income families, but are cost-effective. In this light, Urban Institute researchers have initiated the Opportunity and Ownership Project.
    
    Small business and microenterprise are especially important, but challenging, components of the Opportunity and Ownership Project's agenda. This brief highlights the authors' findings from research and an expert roundtable discussion to explain the difficulties with small business and microenterprise, examines strategies and programs used to promote them, and offers...

    Expanding opportunity through asset building can help less-advantaged families by raising living standards and generating precautionary savings. Public and nonprofit communities that encourage opportunity should pursue policies that help low- and moderate-income families build up their human, physical, and financial assets. However, not all asset-building policies can or should be pursued. It is imperative that the government and philanthropic communities, with their limited means, find programs and policies that increase the welfare of low-income families, but are cost-effective. In this light, Urban Institute researchers have initiated the Opportunity and Ownership Project.
    
    Small business and microenterprise are especially important, but challenging, components of the Opportunity and Ownership Project's agenda. This brief highlights the authors' findings from research and an expert roundtable discussion to explain the difficulties with small business and microenterprise, examines strategies and programs used to promote them, and offers recommendations for priority research and policy. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Gittleman, Maury; Wolff, Edward N.
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2004

    Making use of PSID data for 1984, 1989, and 1994, we examine race differences in patterns of asset accumulation. Our results indicate, as expected, that inheritances raise the rate of wealth accumulation of whites relative to that of African Americans. But, while whites devote a greater share of their income to saving, racial differences in saving rates are not significant, once we control for income. Though our results may be period-specific, we also do not find evidence that the rate of return to capital is greater for whites than for African Americans. Simulations suggest that African Americans would have gained significant ground relative to whites during the period if they had inherited similar amounts, saved at the same rate, had comparable income levels and, more speculatively, had portfolios closer in composition to those of whites. [author abstract]

    Making use of PSID data for 1984, 1989, and 1994, we examine race differences in patterns of asset accumulation. Our results indicate, as expected, that inheritances raise the rate of wealth accumulation of whites relative to that of African Americans. But, while whites devote a greater share of their income to saving, racial differences in saving rates are not significant, once we control for income. Though our results may be period-specific, we also do not find evidence that the rate of return to capital is greater for whites than for African Americans. Simulations suggest that African Americans would have gained significant ground relative to whites during the period if they had inherited similar amounts, saved at the same rate, had comparable income levels and, more speculatively, had portfolios closer in composition to those of whites. [author abstract]

  • Individual Author: Herbert, Christopher E. ; Turnham, Jennifer; Wood, Michelle; Rodger, Christopher N.
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2003

    This report presents the final results of an evaluation of the home purchase component of Michigan's Links to Homeownership program. The program used TANF funds to expand down payment assistance and homeownership education for low-income home buyers in the state. The evaluation assessed the quality of program implementation and the effects of the program on attainment and sustainability of homeownership for families served.

    This report presents the final results of an evaluation of the home purchase component of Michigan's Links to Homeownership program. The program used TANF funds to expand down payment assistance and homeownership education for low-income home buyers in the state. The evaluation assessed the quality of program implementation and the effects of the program on attainment and sustainability of homeownership for families served.

  • Individual Author: Clancy, Margaret; Grinstein-Weiss, Michael; Schreiner, Mark
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2001

    This study is the first quantitative look at the effects of financial education on savings outcomes for the poor in Individual Development Accounts. The findings suggest that financial education has sizeable effects, and that courses need not be long to take advantage of them. Marketing and public-policy implications are noted. (author abstract)

    This study is the first quantitative look at the effects of financial education on savings outcomes for the poor in Individual Development Accounts. The findings suggest that financial education has sizeable effects, and that courses need not be long to take advantage of them. Marketing and public-policy implications are noted. (author abstract)

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