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Children Facing Economic Hardship in the United States: Differentials and Changes in the 1990's

Children Facing Economic Hardship in the United States: Differentials and Changes in the 1990's
Demographic Review, June 2004, Vol 10, Article 11.

Lu, H.H., Palmer, J., Song, Y., Lennon, M.C. & Aber, J.L.
06/18/2004

This paper helps document significant improvements in the child low-income rate as well as the significant decrease in the proportion of children who relied on public assistance in the United States during the 1990s. Many disadvantaged groups of children were less likely to live in poor or low-income families in the late 1990s than such children a decade earlier. The improvement in the child low-income rates of these disadvantaged groups was accompanied by a substantial increase in parental employment. However, parental employment appears to do less to protect children from economic hardship than it did a decade earlier. This paper shows that working families� children in many disadvantaged social groups, especially groups in medium risk ranks�children in families with parents between ages 25 to 29, with parents who only had a high-school diploma, and in father-only families�suffered the largest increase in economic hardship. Our results indicate that the increased odds of falling below low income lines among children in working families facing multiple disadvantaged characteristics and the increased proportion of these children in various subgroups of working families in the 1990s can help explain the increased economic hardship among subgroups in the medium risk ranks listed above. Finally, the paper also notes that the official measure of poverty tends to underestimate low-income rates.

Changing Labor Market Opportunities for Women and the Quality of Teachers, 1957 - 2000

Changing Labor Market Opportunities for Women and the Quality of Teachers, 1957 - 2000
American Economic Review, Papers and Proceedings of the American Economic Association, v. 94, n.2, May 2004

Corcoran, S., Evans, W.N. & Schwab, R.M.
05/01/2004

This study focuses on the changing labor-market opportunities for women, and teacher quality in the U.S., from 1957 to 2000. The study data consist of longitudinal surveys of five cohorts of high-school graduates. These five surveys are alike in that they each include results from a questionnaire administered during the senior year. All require participation in a battery of aptitude test scores for all students, which allows us to place graduates into a cohort skill distribution and to assess how the propensity for women or men with high relative scores to enter teaching has changed over time. Despite a small number of cross-sectional study that have examined the characteristics of college graduates choosing to enter teaching, there has been little empirical evidence on how these characteristics have changed over a long period of time. The study found sound evidence of slight but detectable decline in the relative ability of the average new female teacher, when ability is measured as one's centile rank in the distribution of high-school graduates on a standardized test of verbal and mathematical aptitude. The magnitude of this decline is even greater when measuring ability using standardized scores. The study also found that examination of the entire distribution of new teachers is more informative than trends in central tendency alone.

From Consent to Mutual Inquiry: Balancing Democracy and Authority in Action Research

From Consent to Mutual Inquiry: Balancing Democracy and Authority in Action Research
Action Research, March, vol. 2, no. 1, pp. 47-69 (22) Sage Publications.

Ospina, S., Dodge, J., Godsoe, B., Mineri, J., Reza, S. & Schall, E.
03/01/2004

The Leadership for a Changing World (LCW) program is a joint endeavor between the Ford Foundation, the Advocacy Institute, and the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service. This paper focuses on the experiences of the Research and Documentation component of LCW – lead by a research team from the Wagner School – during the initial implementation phases of the research. This component formed an inquiry group consisting of both academic researchers and social change practitioners to collaboratively explore and discover the ways in which communities doing social change engage in the work of leadership. We used group relations theory to understand a series of critical dilemmas and contradictions experienced by the coresearchers. This paper identifies four such paradoxes that center around issues of democracy and authority.

A Comparison of Ground-Level Air Quality Data with New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Monitoring Stations Data in South Bronx, New York

A Comparison of Ground-Level Air Quality Data with New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Monitoring Stations Data in South Bronx, New York
Atmospheric Environment, Vol. 38, pp. 5295-5304.

Restrepo, C., Zimmerman, R., Thurston, G., Clemente, J., Gorczynski, J., Zhong, M., Blaustin, M. & Chen, L.C.
01/01/2004

The South Bronx is a low-income, minority community in New York City. It has one of the highest asthma rates in
the country, which community residents feel is related to poor air quality. Community residents also feel that the air quality data provided by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) through its network
of monitoring stations do not reflect the poor quality of the air they breathe. This is due to the fact that these
monitoring stations are located 15m above ground. In the year 2001 this project collected air quality data at three
locations in the study area. They were collected close to ground-level at a height of 4m by a mobile laboratory placed in a van as part of the South Bronx Environmental Health and Policy Study. This paper compares data collected by the project with data from DEC's monitoring stations in Bronx County during the same periods. The goal of the comparison is to gain a better understanding of differences in measured air quality concentrations at these different heights. Although there is good agreement in the data among DEC stations there are some important differences between ground-level measurements and DEC data. For PM2.5 the measured concentrations by the van were similar to those recorded by DEC stations. In the case of ozone, the concentrations recorded at ground level were similar or lower than those recorded by DEC stations. For NO2, however, the concentrations recorded at ground level were over twice as high as those recorded by DEC. In the case of SO2, ground level measurements were substantially higher in August but very similar in the other two periods. CO concentrations measured at ground-level tend to be 60-90% higher than those recorded by DEC monitoring stations. Despite these differences, van measurements of SO2 and CO concentrations were well below EPA standards.

A Profile of Families Cycling On and Off Welfare

A Profile of Families Cycling On and Off Welfare
New York, NY: MDRC, July

Richburg-Hayes & Freedman, S.
01/01/2004

This report analyzes the experiences of welfare “cyclers,” a group that has received relatively little attention in previous research on welfare dynamics. For this study, “cycling” is defined as receipt of welfare benefits during three or more discrete spells during a four-year observation period. The goals of this report are to understand the incidence of cycling and the types of families who cycle on and off the rolls, and, if possible, to shed light onto why they repeatedly return to assistance. The report also considers whether welfare cyclers appear to be more advantaged or more disadvantaged than other welfare recipients in the labor market. One view of cycling is that cyclers move on and off welfare, repeatedly, during transitional periods as they attempt to leave welfare. Eventually, cyclers may attain stable employment and leave assistance more permanently. An alternative view of cycling is that cyclers may work for pay only briefly and return to welfare for longer spells with little progress toward self-sufficiency.

Appreciative Narratives as Leadership Research: Matching Method to Lens

Appreciative Narratives as Leadership Research: Matching Method to Lens
In David Cooperrider and Michel Avital (eds), Advances in Appreciative Inquiry Vol 1: Constructive Discourse and Human Organization. Elsevier Science, Ltd.

Schall, E., Ospina, S., Godsoe, B. & Dodge, J.
01/01/2004

This chapter explores the potential of appreciative inquiry for doing empirical work on leadership. We use a framework that matches a constructionist theoretical lens, an appreciative and participative stance, a focus on the work of leadership (as opposed to leaders), and multiple methods of inquiry (narrative, ethnographic and cooperative). We elaborate on our experiences with narrative inquiry, while highlighting the value of doing narrative inquiry in an appreciative manner. Finally, we suggest that this particular framework is helping us see how social change leadership work reframes the value that the larger society attributes to members of vulnerable communities.

Do Changes in Pension Incentives Affect Retirement? A Longitudinal Study of Subjective Retirement Expectations

Do Changes in Pension Incentives Affect Retirement? A Longitudinal Study of Subjective Retirement Expectations
Journal of Public Economics, July

Chan, S. & Stevens, A.H.
01/01/2004

This paper investigates the responsiveness of individuals’ retirement decisions to forward-looking measures of pension accumulations. In contrast to previous research, we use within-person variation in retirement incentives and are able to control for unobserved heterogeneity in tastes for retirement by studying a panel of subjective retirement expectations. We confirm that individuals do respond as expected to pension incentives, even when we control for individual fixed effects. However, the magnitude of these responses differs when estimated from models based on within-person versus cross-sectional variation: the inclusion of fixed effects reduces the response by about half.

How Does Job Loss Affect the Timing of Retirement?

How Does Job Loss Affect the Timing of Retirement?
Contributions to Economic Analysis & Policy 2004: Vol. 3: No. 1, Article 5.

Chan, S. & Stevens, A.H.
01/01/2004

This paper estimates the extent to which reduced employment following job loss among older workers can be explained as a response to altered pension incentives and earnings opportunities. Using data from the Health and Retirement Study, we first examine how workers’ earnings, assets, pensions and the resulting financial incentive to retire are affected by job loss. We find important effects of job loss on the main financial components of workers’ incentive to retire. We then examine retirement behavior after job loss, controlling for these changed retirement incentives, along with any additional effects of displacement not captured by retirement incentives. We find that the observed increased rates of retirement among displaced workers go far beyond these purely financial considerations. Very little of the reduced employment among older job losers can be explained by changes in wages and pension-related retirement incentives. Other barriers to reemployment may be more important explanations for the low employment rates of recently displaced older workers.

Opening Doors and Building Capacity: Employing a Community-Based Approach to Surveying

Opening Doors and Building Capacity: Employing a Community-Based Approach to Surveying
Journal of Urban Health. 2004;81:291-300.

Kaplan, S.A., Dillman, K.N., Calman, N.S. & Billings, J.
01/01/2004

Although many community-based initiatives employ community residents to undertake door-to-door surveys as a form of community mobilization or for purposes of needs assessment or evaluation, very little has been published on the strengths and weaknesses of this approach. This article discusses our experience in undertaking such a survey in collaboration with a coalition of community-based organizations (CBOs) in the South Bronx, New York. Although resource constraints limited the already-strained capacity of the CBOs to provide supervision, the CBOs and community surveyors helped us gain access to neighborhood buildings and to individuals who might otherwise have been inaccessible. The survey process also contributed to the coalition's community outreach efforts and helped to link the CBO leadership and staff more closely to the coalition and its mission. Many of the surveyors enhanced their knowledge and skills in ways that have since benefited them or the coalition directly. The participating CBOs continue to be deeply engaged in the coalition's work, and many of the surveyors are active as community health advocates and have taken leadership roles within the coalition.

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