This brief presents findings, and lessons for policy and practice, from MDRC-conducted studies of five programs that provided earnings supplements and that have been rigorously evaluated using a random assignment research design: the Canadian Self-Sufficiency Project (SSP), the Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP), Milwaukee’s New Hope Project, the Texas Employment Retention and Advancement (ERA) program, and the United Kingdom Employment Retention and Advancement (UK ERA) program. The evaluations primarily focus on the effects of the programs on single parents. SSP, MFIP, and New Hope operated some time ago (primarily in the 1990s), but long-run follow-up data are available only recently. In addition, relatively new evaluation results are available from the more recent Texas ERA and UK ERA programs.
This brief discusses key findings from evaluations of these earnings supplement programs and then provides lessons for both policy and practice that have emerged from these initiatives. While each program had its own set of unique circumstances and lessons (and none is currently operating), the focus here is on common themes across the initiatives. (author abstract)