Poverty

Why Assets? Toward a New Framework on Social Stratification

Why Assets? Toward a New Framework on Social Stratification
Ford Foundation Volume, The Mechanisms and Benefits of Spreading Asset Ownership among the Poor. Russell Sage Foundation,

Conley, D.
01/01/2001

Over the past three decades, average household wealth in the United States has declined among all but the richest families, with a near 80 percent drop among the nation's poorest families. Although the national debate about inequality has focused on income, it is wealth - the private assets amassed and passed on within families -- that provides the extra economic cushion needed to move beyond mere day-to-day survival. Assets for the Poor is a full-scale investigation into the importance of family wealth and the need for policies to encourage asset-building among the poor.

The Twilight of Liberal Welfare Reform

The Twilight of Liberal Welfare Reform
The Public Interest, no. 139 (Spring 2000)

Mead, L.
03/01/2000

Thirty years ago, welfare reform was a liberal issue. In the 1960s and 1970s, government planners proposed that cash welfare benefits be raised and extended to the entire low-income population. But those proposals were rejected, and since the 1970s, the welfare debate has turned sharply rightward: The goal today is more to reduce dependency than to relieve poverty. The most recent welfare reform, enacted by the Republican Congress in 1996, was very conservative. Partly due to it, the number of families on cash aid has fallen by half in the last five years.

Government's Greatest Achievements of the Past Half Century

Government's Greatest Achievements of the Past Half Century
Reform Watch Brief #2, The Brookings Institution, November

Light, P.C.
01/01/2000

Looking back from the edge of a new millennium, it is difficult not to be proud of what the federal government has tried to achieve these past fifty years. Name a significant domestic or foreign problem over the past half century and the federal government made some effort to solve it, sometimes through massive new programs such as Medicare and Apollo, other times through a string of smaller initiatives to address enduring problems such as disease and poverty. If a nation's greatness is measured in part by the kinds of problems it asks its government to solve, the United States measures up very well, indeed. The proof is in the federal statutes. All totaled, Congress passed more than 500 major laws between 1944 and 1999 to improve the quality of life in the nation and world. Judged not as individual programs but as part of larger endeavors, these statutes speak to the enormous range of federal engagement since World War II. Having emerged victorious from both the war and the Great Depression, Congress called upon the federal government to tackle a bold agenda worthy of the world�s greatest democracy, and provided the statutory authority to act. Convinced that government could do great things, the nation asked the federal government to do just that.

High School Size: The Effects on Budgets and Performance in New York City

High School Size: The Effects on Budgets and Performance in New York City
Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, Spring

Stiefel, L., Berne, R., Iatarola, P. & Fruchter, N.
01/01/2000

Combines budget and performance information to study the effects of high school size. Suggests that since small high schools are more effective for minority and poor students, and the budget per student is found to be similar for small and large schools, policymakers might support the creation of more small high schools.

Race and the Inheritance of Low Birth Weight

Race and the Inheritance of Low Birth Weight
Social Biology. 47:77-93,

Conley, D. & Bennett, N.
01/01/2000

This paper uses intergenerational data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID) to address the black-white difference in propensities toward low birth weight (LBW). We determine that socioeconomic conditions account for some variation in low birth weight across race. Further, while race differences in the risk of low birth weight cannot be explained entirely, we find that the inheritance of parental birth weight status dramatically reduces the black-white gap in low birth weight. Intergenerational legacies of poor infant health explain the largest share of racial disparities in filial birth weight. We then try to assess whether this intergenerational transmission of low birth weight is indeed genetic by using grandparent-fixed effects models to factor out, to a great extent, family socioeconomic circumstances. We find that even within this framework, both father's and mother's birth weight status have an important impact on filial outcomes. However, the degree of inheritance is weaker for African Americans than for other races. Finally, we theorize that the importance of paternal birth weight status implies a genetic association that does not work through the uterine environment but rather through the fetus itself.

Racial/Ethnic Identity, Congruence with the Social Context, and the Transition to High School

Racial/Ethnic Identity, Congruence with the Social Context, and the Transition to High School
Journal of Adolescent Research, 15(5), 587-602,

French, S., Seidman, E., Allen, L. & Aber, J.L.
01/01/2000

The transition to high school may serve as a race/ethnicity consciousness-raising experience that stimulates the development of one's racial/ethnic identity depending on newcomers' racial/ethnic congruence with the student body and staff, as well as their perceived social transactions with the new school. The nature of this development was tested within samples of poor, urban, Black, White, and Latino students (n = 144). Racial/ethnic identity (group–esteem and exploration) and perceived transactions with school (academic hassles, participation, and social support) were assessed at the end of both the year prior to the transition and the transition year. The results suggested that changes over the transition to senior high school served as a race/ethnicity consciousness-raising experience for both Black and European American students but in dramatically different ways.

The Microfinance Schism

The Microfinance Schism
World Development, 28 (4), April 2000, 617 - 629.

Morduch, J.
01/01/2000

Presents a study on win-win proposition, a principle of good banking, by leading microfinance advocates which can alleviate poverty through microfinance institution. Logic of the win-win proposition; Advantages of financial sustainability; Limits of the proposition.

Welfare Reform, Family Support, and Child Development: Perspectives from Policy Analysis and Developmental Psychopathology

Welfare Reform, Family Support, and Child Development: Perspectives from Policy Analysis and Developmental Psychopathology
Development & Psychopathology, 12(4), 619-632,

Knitzer, J., Yoshikawa, H., Cauthen, N.K. & Aber, J.L.
01/01/2000

This article explores the implications of recent welfare-related policy change for the well-being of children in low income families, and for research investigating child development processes and outcomes. It provides an overview of current welfare-related policies and explores the implications for developmental researchers. The article also synthesizes early findings from research, highlighting both overall impacts and the more nuanced evidence that while families are transitioning off welfare, only a small number are transitioning out of poverty, and a subgroup of families at risk are not faring well. It then examines, from a theoretical and methodological framework, what developmental psychopathology might bring to the study of welfare-related impacts on children in the context of this complex and changing policy landscape, and what welfare researchers might bring to the field of developmental psychopathology. The article concludes with broad recommendations for both research and policy.

Who is Enrolled in For-Profit vs. Nonprofit Medicare HMOs?

Who is Enrolled in For-Profit vs. Nonprofit Medicare HMOs?
Health Affairs. 2000;19:210-220.

Blustein, J., Hoy, E.C.
01/01/2000

We compare the characteristics of enrollees in for-profit and nonprofit Medicare health plans using nationwide data from the 1996 Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey. We find few differences in overall health status, limitations in activities of daily living (ADLs), or history of chronic disease. However, older Americans enrolled in for-profit plans are substantially poorer and less educated than those enrolled in nonprofit plans, are more likely to have joined their plan recently, and are more likely to have joined a plan with the expectation of reducing their out-of-pocket health care costs.

The Microfinance Promise

The Microfinance Promise
Journal of Economic Literature, Dec 1999, Vol. 37 Issue 4, p1569, 46p.

Morduch, J.
12/01/1999

The article presents information about a set of financial institutions in underdeveloped countries which are striving to alleviate poverty by providing financial services to low-income households. These institutions, united under the banner of microfinance, share a commitment to serving clients that have been exclude from the formal banking sector. Almost all of the borrowers do so to finance self-employment activities, and many start by taking loans as small as $75, repaid over several months or a year. Only a few programs require borrowers to put up collateral, enabling would-be entrepreneurs with few assets to escape positions as poorly paid wage laborers or farmers. The programs point to innovations like "group-lending" contracts and new attitudes about subsidies as keys to their success. Group-lending contracts effectively make a borrower's neighbors co-signers to loans, mitigating problems created by informational asymmetries between lender and borrower. Neighbours now have incentives to monitor each other and to exclude risky borrowers from participation, promoting repayment even in the absence of collateral requirements.

Pages

Subscribe to Poverty