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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: Stacy, Christina; Craigie, Terry-Ann; Meixell, Brady; MacDonald, Graham; Zheng, Sihan Vivian; Davis, Christopher; Baird, Christina; Chartoff, Ben; Hinson, David; Lei, Serena
    Reference Type: Dataset
    Year: 2019

    In many cities, low-income residents live far from available jobs, and employers can’t find people to fill open positions. Economists call this “spatial mismatch”—a mismatch between where jobs are located and where job seekers live, which can cause high unemployment rates and lead to longer spells of joblessness. Data from Snag, the largest online marketplace for hourly jobs, show us that this is true for job seekers who use their platform. Snag data capture a large number of low-wage job seekers in each metropolitan statistical area (MSA). Looking at 2017, the most recent year of data, we analyzed the distance between every job seeker and the jobs they applied for, allowing us to map out spatial mismatch. And we talked to local government and workforce officials in two regions to learn what they’re doing to overcome this problem. (Author introduction modified)

    In many cities, low-income residents live far from available jobs, and employers can’t find people to fill open positions. Economists call this “spatial mismatch”—a mismatch between where jobs are located and where job seekers live, which can cause high unemployment rates and lead to longer spells of joblessness. Data from Snag, the largest online marketplace for hourly jobs, show us that this is true for job seekers who use their platform. Snag data capture a large number of low-wage job seekers in each metropolitan statistical area (MSA). Looking at 2017, the most recent year of data, we analyzed the distance between every job seeker and the jobs they applied for, allowing us to map out spatial mismatch. And we talked to local government and workforce officials in two regions to learn what they’re doing to overcome this problem. (Author introduction modified)

  • Individual Author: Blagg, Kristin; Chingos, Matthew; Corcoran, Sean P.; Cordes, Sarah A.; Cowen, Joshua; Denice, Patrick ; Gross, Betheny; Lincove, Jane Arnold ; Sattin-Bajaj, Carolyn; Schwartz, Amy Ellen; Valant, Jon
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2018

    How to get to school is an important issue for families who want to send their children to schools outside their neighborhood and for education policymakers seeking to implement school choice policies that mitigate educational inequality. We analyze travel times between the homes and schools of nearly 190,000 students across five large US cities that offer a significant amount of educational choice:  Denver, Detroit, New Orleans, New York City, and Washington, DC. We find: 

    • Despite wide variation across cities in student transportation policy, there are similar student transportation patterns across our cities. Most students live within a 20-minute drive from home to their school. Older students travel farther to school than younger students, and black students travel farther than white or Hispanic students. Students who are not low income tend to travel farther than their low-income peers.
    • Particularly among older students, those enrolled in traditional public schools tend to travel as far, or in some cases farther, than those attending charter schools....

    How to get to school is an important issue for families who want to send their children to schools outside their neighborhood and for education policymakers seeking to implement school choice policies that mitigate educational inequality. We analyze travel times between the homes and schools of nearly 190,000 students across five large US cities that offer a significant amount of educational choice:  Denver, Detroit, New Orleans, New York City, and Washington, DC. We find: 

    • Despite wide variation across cities in student transportation policy, there are similar student transportation patterns across our cities. Most students live within a 20-minute drive from home to their school. Older students travel farther to school than younger students, and black students travel farther than white or Hispanic students. Students who are not low income tend to travel farther than their low-income peers.
    • Particularly among older students, those enrolled in traditional public schools tend to travel as far, or in some cases farther, than those attending charter schools.
    • Access to “high quality” high schools varies across cities, race and ethnicity, and on the quality measure used. However, ninth-grade students, on average, tend to live about a 10-minute drive from a “high quality” high school.
    • Access to a car can significantly increase the number of schools available to a family. Typical travel times to school by public transit are significantly greater than by car, especially in cities with less efficient transit networks.

    Just as there are inequalities and differences in students’ academic performance across these cities, we see parallel inequalities and differences in the distances that students travel and in the availability of nearby school options. Experiments in targeted policy interventions, such as implementing transportation vouchers for low-income parents of very young students, using yellow buses on circulating routes, or changing the way that school siting decisions are made, might yield pragmatic solutions that further level the playing field for a city’s most disadvantaged students. (Author abstract) 

  • Individual Author: O'Brien, Daniel T.; Hill, Nancy; Contreras, Mariah; Sidoni, Guido
    Reference Type: Conference Paper
    Year: 2018

    Many American cities suffer from de facto residential segregation along lines of race and class, and their school districts have long struggled to find ways to mitigate this segregation in their schools. A common solution is the creation of school choice and assignment policies that enable students to submit a list of schools from across the city that then creates assignments based on a lottery. Such systems, however, result in a need for an extensive amount of transportation, which is burdensome both for the district’s finances and for the families whose children must travel long distances daily. In 2014, Boston, MA sought to reengineer its school choice and assignment system to attend to these challenges. The resulting Home-Based Assignment Plan (HBAP) was a thoughtfully-crafted attempt to provide parents with increased access to good schools, close to home, especially for those students with the lowest level of access. In theory, this would decrease travel distances while also safeguarding against the inequities that are inherent to a residentially-segregated city. The system...

    Many American cities suffer from de facto residential segregation along lines of race and class, and their school districts have long struggled to find ways to mitigate this segregation in their schools. A common solution is the creation of school choice and assignment policies that enable students to submit a list of schools from across the city that then creates assignments based on a lottery. Such systems, however, result in a need for an extensive amount of transportation, which is burdensome both for the district’s finances and for the families whose children must travel long distances daily. In 2014, Boston, MA sought to reengineer its school choice and assignment system to attend to these challenges. The resulting Home-Based Assignment Plan (HBAP) was a thoughtfully-crafted attempt to provide parents with increased access to good schools, close to home, especially for those students with the lowest level of access. In theory, this would decrease travel distances while also safeguarding against the inequities that are inherent to a residentially-segregated city. The system guaranteed each student a “choice basket” from which they could select schools with a minimum number of high-quality schools (i.e., the two nearest top-tier schools; based on Massachusetts standardized tests). Now that HBAP has been in effect for four years, Boston Public Schools (BPS) and the Boston Area Research Initiative (BARI) have partnered to evaluate the extent to which HBAP was successful in its goals of creating 1) more equitable access, 2) more equitable assignment to schools closer to home, and 3) having neighbors be more likely to attend the same school while maintaining geographic and racial diversity within schools. The evaluation has entailed an analysis of choice baskets granted to families, choice submissions made by families, and enrollments for both the three years preceding and following HBAP’s implementation. Substantively, BPS and BARI have decided to focus particularly on potential weaknesses baked into the algorithms that HBAP uses to generate choice baskets. First, equitable access is based on numbers of high-quality schools, not number of high-quality seats nor competition for those high-quality seats, potentially creating a false impressions of equity. Second, distance to school was based on Euclidean distance (i.e., “as the crow flies”) and not on actual distance or time traveled, leading us to use Google Maps API to better estimate the effort required by a family to transport to and from school. Third, the system conflates inclusion of high-quality schools in a choice basket, regardless of distance from home, with perceived ability to attend those schools on the part of the family. Fourth, the implementation of HBAP and other school choice and assignment systems do not account for how family preferences will interact with the system to create emergent outcomes. The talk will examine each of these considerations and their consequences for equity. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Blumenberg, Evelyn; Pierce, Gregory
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2016

    Transportation enables low-income individuals to find and travel to employment. This article analyzes the relationship between access to automobiles and public transit and employment outcomes of low-income households. We use longitudinal survey data from participants in the Welfare to Work Voucher Program, which was conducted in five US metropolitan areas between 1999 and 2005. Multinomial logistic regression shows that baseline access to automobiles has a strong positive relationship to follow-up employment but public transit access and receipt of housing assistance do not. Our findings suggest that enhancing car access will notably improve employment outcomes among very-low-income adults, but other assistance will have, at best, marginal effects. (author abstract)

    Transportation enables low-income individuals to find and travel to employment. This article analyzes the relationship between access to automobiles and public transit and employment outcomes of low-income households. We use longitudinal survey data from participants in the Welfare to Work Voucher Program, which was conducted in five US metropolitan areas between 1999 and 2005. Multinomial logistic regression shows that baseline access to automobiles has a strong positive relationship to follow-up employment but public transit access and receipt of housing assistance do not. Our findings suggest that enhancing car access will notably improve employment outcomes among very-low-income adults, but other assistance will have, at best, marginal effects. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Blumenberg, Evelyn; Pierce, Gregory; Smart, Michael
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2015

    Access to automobiles may be particularly important to housing voucher recipients, who are more likely than residents of public housing to live in suburban neighborhoods where transit service is often limited. Access to high-quality public transit is more likely to benefit low-income households who live in dense central-city neighborhoods in close proximity to employment. In this analysis we draw on survey data from two housing voucher experiments—the Moving to Opportunity for Fair Housing and Welfare-to-Work Voucher programs—to examine the relationship between access to automobiles and public transit and the employment and earnings outcomes of program participants.

    Our research underscores the importance of automobiles in achieving desirable outcomes for families who receive subsidized housing. Access to automobiles is associated with improved economic outcomes for all program participants and better facilitates job acquisition, job retention, and earnings than public transit. Our findings suggest the need to better link housing and transportation programs and to pursue a...

    Access to automobiles may be particularly important to housing voucher recipients, who are more likely than residents of public housing to live in suburban neighborhoods where transit service is often limited. Access to high-quality public transit is more likely to benefit low-income households who live in dense central-city neighborhoods in close proximity to employment. In this analysis we draw on survey data from two housing voucher experiments—the Moving to Opportunity for Fair Housing and Welfare-to-Work Voucher programs—to examine the relationship between access to automobiles and public transit and the employment and earnings outcomes of program participants.

    Our research underscores the importance of automobiles in achieving desirable outcomes for families who receive subsidized housing. Access to automobiles is associated with improved economic outcomes for all program participants and better facilitates job acquisition, job retention, and earnings than public transit. Our findings suggest the need to better link housing and transportation programs and to pursue a set of policies that increase automobile access among all subsidized housing recipients. (Author abstract)

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