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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: Loibl, Cäzilia ; Jones, Lauren; Haisley, Emily; Loewenstein, George
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2016

    In a series of field experiments we test whether saving and retention rates in a federally funded, matched savings program for low-income families – the Individual Development Account (IDA) program – can be improved through the introduction of program features inspired by behavioral economics. We partnered with eight IDA programs across the U.S. who agreed to randomly assign participants to different experimental conditions. We test the impact of four revenue-neutral changes in key program features: a) holding savers accountable for making savings deposits through phone calls before and after the deposit deadline, b) an increase in the frequency with which deposits are made from monthly to biweekly, c) the introduction of a lottery-based incentive structure, whereby match rates are determined in part by a lottery at the time of each deposit, and d) an increase in the savings match from $2 for every $1 saved to $4 for every $1 saved when half of the savings goal was reached. None of our four interventions had the desired effect of increasing savings. To explain the null findings,...

    In a series of field experiments we test whether saving and retention rates in a federally funded, matched savings program for low-income families – the Individual Development Account (IDA) program – can be improved through the introduction of program features inspired by behavioral economics. We partnered with eight IDA programs across the U.S. who agreed to randomly assign participants to different experimental conditions. We test the impact of four revenue-neutral changes in key program features: a) holding savers accountable for making savings deposits through phone calls before and after the deposit deadline, b) an increase in the frequency with which deposits are made from monthly to biweekly, c) the introduction of a lottery-based incentive structure, whereby match rates are determined in part by a lottery at the time of each deposit, and d) an increase in the savings match from $2 for every $1 saved to $4 for every $1 saved when half of the savings goal was reached. None of our four interventions had the desired effect of increasing savings. To explain the null findings, we speculate that liquidity constraints, rather than cognitive biases, were the primary impediment to saving. (Author abstract)

     

  • Individual Author: Roman, Caterina G. ; Link, Nathan
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2015

    Former prisoners are increasingly facing the burden of financial debt associated with legal and criminal justice obligations in the U.S., yet little research has pursued how— theoretically or empirically—the burden of debt might affect key outcomes in prisoner reentry. To address the limited research, we examine the impact that having legal child support (CS) obligations has on employment and recidivism using data from the Serious and Violent Offender Reentry Initiative (SVORI). In this report we describe the characteristics of adult male returning prisoners with child support orders and debt, and examine whether participation in SVORI was associated with greater services receipt than those in the comparison groups (for relevant services such as child-support services, employment preparation, and financial and legal assistance).

    We also examine the lagged impacts that child support obligations, legal employment and rearrest have on each other. Results from the crossed lagged panel model using GSEM in STATA indicate that while having child support debt...

    Former prisoners are increasingly facing the burden of financial debt associated with legal and criminal justice obligations in the U.S., yet little research has pursued how— theoretically or empirically—the burden of debt might affect key outcomes in prisoner reentry. To address the limited research, we examine the impact that having legal child support (CS) obligations has on employment and recidivism using data from the Serious and Violent Offender Reentry Initiative (SVORI). In this report we describe the characteristics of adult male returning prisoners with child support orders and debt, and examine whether participation in SVORI was associated with greater services receipt than those in the comparison groups (for relevant services such as child-support services, employment preparation, and financial and legal assistance).

    We also examine the lagged impacts that child support obligations, legal employment and rearrest have on each other. Results from the crossed lagged panel model using GSEM in STATA indicate that while having child support debt does not appear to influence employment significantly, it does show a marginally significant protective effect—former prisoners who have child support obligations are less likely to be arrested after release from prison than those who do not have obligations. We discuss the findings within the framework of past and emerging theoretical work on desistance from crime. We also discuss the implications for prisoner reentry policy and practice. (Author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Sanders, Cynthia K.
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2014

     Survivors of domestic violence often remain in abusive relationships due to limited economic resources, economic dependence on an abusive partner, and economic abuse. Viewing women who have experienced domestic violence as “survivors” suggests that when provided access to appropriate resources, they will seek help and utilize such resources allowing them to increase their stability and potentially escape an abusive partner. Assets have been shown to have a variety of positive associations with a wide range of economic, social, and psychological outcomes. Economic initiatives, such as financial education and individual development accounts (IDAs), aimed toward survivors of domestic violence are on the rise. However, to date, there are few studies. Data on IDA activity, including savings rates, withdrawals, and asset purchases, for 125 women who participated in an IDA matched-savings program for survivors of intimate-partner violence were examined. Approximately 2/3 of women reached their savings goal and 76% made at least 1 matched-savings withdrawal and asset purchase. Results...

     Survivors of domestic violence often remain in abusive relationships due to limited economic resources, economic dependence on an abusive partner, and economic abuse. Viewing women who have experienced domestic violence as “survivors” suggests that when provided access to appropriate resources, they will seek help and utilize such resources allowing them to increase their stability and potentially escape an abusive partner. Assets have been shown to have a variety of positive associations with a wide range of economic, social, and psychological outcomes. Economic initiatives, such as financial education and individual development accounts (IDAs), aimed toward survivors of domestic violence are on the rise. However, to date, there are few studies. Data on IDA activity, including savings rates, withdrawals, and asset purchases, for 125 women who participated in an IDA matched-savings program for survivors of intimate-partner violence were examined. Approximately 2/3 of women reached their savings goal and 76% made at least 1 matched-savings withdrawal and asset purchase. Results suggest survivors can be successful savers and purchase assets that may contribute to their economic stability. Implications are discussed, including the need for long-term studies to examine how participation in a matched-savings program affects women’s well-being, safety, and future experiences of intimate-partner violence. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Kaul, Bulbul; Burnett, Kimberly; St George, Anne
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2011

    The service pathways analysis examines a family’s progress along a pathway towards self-sufficiency and financial stability through employment, increasing income, and accumulation of wealth – the three pillars of the Center for Working Families (CWF) concept. This research brief presents findings based on the experiences of participants in three evaluation sites – Central New Mexico Community College in Albuquerque, New Mexico (CNM), the Metropolitan Education and Training Center in Wellston, Missouri (MET Center), and Bon Secours of Maryland Foundation in Baltimore, Maryland (Bon Secours). The descriptive analysis in this brief adds analysis of student retention in school for CNM participants and earnings trends for participants at Bon Secours. New findings on services provided to participant subpopulations and their achievements are also included in this brief. (author's abstract)

    The service pathways analysis examines a family’s progress along a pathway towards self-sufficiency and financial stability through employment, increasing income, and accumulation of wealth – the three pillars of the Center for Working Families (CWF) concept. This research brief presents findings based on the experiences of participants in three evaluation sites – Central New Mexico Community College in Albuquerque, New Mexico (CNM), the Metropolitan Education and Training Center in Wellston, Missouri (MET Center), and Bon Secours of Maryland Foundation in Baltimore, Maryland (Bon Secours). The descriptive analysis in this brief adds analysis of student retention in school for CNM participants and earnings trends for participants at Bon Secours. New findings on services provided to participant subpopulations and their achievements are also included in this brief. (author's abstract)

  • Individual Author: Burnett, Kimberly; Woodford, Michelle; Kaul, Bulbul; St. George, Anne
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2010

    The Center for Working Families (CWF) is built on the premise that many barriers prevent low-income working families from improving their incomes, building their assets, and achieving economic security. As such, CWF sites have adopted a comprehensive service model that emphasizes three areas: employment and education services, income and work supports, and financial education and asset-building services. “Coaching” support is provided to participants by program staff who serve as financial guidance counselors or case managers.

    ...

    This study assesses whether Center for Working Families (CWF) families experience income growth and other financial achievements – both behavioral and monetary – over the course of their participation in the program. Participants at three CWF sites are included in this study: Bon Secours of Maryland Foundation in Baltimore, Maryland; Central New Mexico Community College in Albuquerque, New Mexico; and the St. Louis Metropolitan Education and Training, or MET Center, in Missouri. A previous work established and analyzed participants'...

    The Center for Working Families (CWF) is built on the premise that many barriers prevent low-income working families from improving their incomes, building their assets, and achieving economic security. As such, CWF sites have adopted a comprehensive service model that emphasizes three areas: employment and education services, income and work supports, and financial education and asset-building services. “Coaching” support is provided to participants by program staff who serve as financial guidance counselors or case managers.

    ...

    This study assesses whether Center for Working Families (CWF) families experience income growth and other financial achievements – both behavioral and monetary – over the course of their participation in the program. Participants at three CWF sites are included in this study: Bon Secours of Maryland Foundation in Baltimore, Maryland; Central New Mexico Community College in Albuquerque, New Mexico; and the St. Louis Metropolitan Education and Training, or MET Center, in Missouri. A previous work established and analyzed participants' baseline circumstances. This brief builds on previous studies by incorporating data from a reports, administrative data from each of the sites, and other sources of information to measure participants’ progress over time by addressing several questions about financial progress. (author introduction)

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