Poverty

U.S. Ratification of the CRC and Reducing Child Poverty: Can We Get There from Here?

U.S. Ratification of the CRC and Reducing Child Poverty: Can We Get There from Here?
Child Welfare, 89(5): 159-175

Aber, J.L., Hammond, A.S. & S.M. Thompson.
01/01/2010

If the United States finally ratifies the United Nations Convention of the Rights of the Child (CRC), will it improve the country's to effectively combat child poverty and thereby improve child well-being? This article addresses this and related questions in two ways. First, the authors examine how ratification of the CRC has influenced the efforts of other wealthy Anglophone countries to reduce child poverty. Second, they draw on lessons learned from these other countries' efforts to generate predictions about America's postratification future. The authors conclude that, while the CRC is a compelling, practical tool, a communications strategy and business plan are necessary complements to achieve desired results.

Portfolios of the Poor: How the World's Poor Live on $2 a Day

Portfolios of the Poor: How the World's Poor Live on $2 a Day
Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Collins, D., Morduch, J., Rutherford, S. & Ruthven, O.
05/01/2009

About forty percent of the world's people live on incomes of two dollars a day or less. If you've never had to survive on an income so small, it is hard to imagine. How would you put food on the table, afford a home, and educate your children? How would you handle emergencies and old age? Every day, more than a billion people around the world must answer these questions. Portfolios of the Poor is the first book to explain systematically how the poor find solutions.

The authors report on the yearlong "financial diaries" of villagers and slum dwellers in Bangladesh, India, and South Africa--records that track penny by penny how specific households manage their money. The stories of these families are often surprising and inspiring. Most poor households do not live hand to mouth, spending what they earn in a desperate bid to keep afloat. Instead, they employ financial tools, many linked to informal networks and family ties. They push money into savings for reserves, squeeze money out of creditors whenever possible, run sophisticated savings clubs, and use microfinancing wherever available. Their experiences reveal new methods to fight poverty and ways to envision the next generation of banks for the "bottom billion."

Race, Gender and the Recession: Job Creation and Employment

Race, Gender and the Recession: Job Creation and Employment

C. Nicole Mason, Ph.D
05/01/2009

This report focuses on the effect of the recession and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) on economically marginalized communities. The Network highlights four key areas of impact for women of color and their families: job creation and employment, housing and social services, education, and tax cuts to individuals.

Microfinance Meets the Market

Microfinance Meets the Market
February Journal of Economic Perspectives 23(1), Winter:  167-192.

Morduch, J., Cull, R. & Demirguc-Kunt, A.
02/01/2009

In this paper, we examine the economic logic behind microfinance institutions and consider the movement from socially oriented nonprofit microfinance institutions to for-profit microfinance. Drawing on a large dataset that includes most of the world's leading microfinance institutions, we explore eight questions about the microfinance "industry": Who are the lenders? How widespread is profitability? Are loans in fact repaid at the high rates advertised? Who are the customers? Why are interest rates so high? Are profits high enough to attract profit-maximizing investors? How important are subsidies? The evidence suggests that investors seeking pure profits would have little interest in most of the institutions we see that are now serving poorer customers. We will suggest that the future of microfinance is unlikely to follow a single path. The recent clash between supporters of profit-driven Banco Compartamos and of the Grameen Bank with its "social business" model offers us a false choice. Commercial investment is necessary to fund the continued expansion of microfinance, but institutions with strong social missions, many taking advantage of subsidies, remain best placed to reach and serve the poorest customers, and some are doing so at a massive scale. The market is a powerful force, but it cannot fill all gaps.

Making Ends Meet: Women and Poverty in New York City

Making Ends Meet: Women and Poverty in New York City

Mason, C.N. & Salas, D.
01/01/2009

 In March 2009, The Network in collaboration with the New York Women's Foundation will release a new report on women living in poverty in New York City.  The dynamic study will include qualitative data as well as narratives from women about the impact of poverty on communities and families.  The report will help inform funding priorities for the Foundation.

The Unbanked: Evidence from Indonesia

The Unbanked: Evidence from Indonesia
October   World Bank Economic Review 22(3): 517-537

Morduch, J. & Jonston Jr., D.
10/01/2008

To analyze the prospects for expanding financial access to the poor, bank professionals assessed 1,438 households in six provinces in Indonesia to judge their creditworthiness. About 40 percent of poor households were judged creditworthy according to the criteria of Indonesia's largest microfinance bank, but fewer than 10 percent had recently borrowed from a microbank or formal lender. Possessing collateral appeared as a minor determinant of creditworthiness, in keeping with microfinance innovations. Although these households were judged able to service loans reliably, most desired small loans. Calculations show that the bank, given its current fee structure and banking practices, would lose money when lending at the scales desired. So, while innovations have helped to extend financial access, it remains difficult to lend in small amounts and cover costs.

Understanding Client and Occupation Barriers in New York City

Understanding Client and Occupation Barriers in New York City

Women of Color Policy Network
09/01/2008

In 2006, the Network was commissioned by United Way of New York to access the viability of New York City's first workforce development program. Using a mix method approach of surveys, individual interviews with program participants and extensive secondary data, the Network helped identify labor and workforce trends as well as barriers and challenges to sustained employment within low-income communities. A three-part series of our findings and recommendations for future programs in workforce development was released. An Assessment of Client Barriers: A Sample of NYC Works Program Participants Industry and Occupational Assessment of NYC Works NYCWorks program staff perceptions of Client Barriers

The Knowledge Bank

The Knowledge Bank
in William Easterly, editor, Reimagining Foreign Aid. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Morduch, J.
07/01/2008

The urgency of reducing poverty in the developing world has been the subject of a public campaign by such unlikely policy experts as George Clooney, Alicia Keyes, Elton John, Angelina Jolie, and Bono. And yet accompanying the call for more foreign aid is an almost universal discontent with the effectiveness of the existing aid system. In Reinventing Foreign Aid, development expert William Easterly has gathered top scholars in the field to discuss how to improve foreign aid. These authors, Easterly points out, are not claiming that their ideas will (to invoke a current slogan) Make Poverty History. Rather, they take on specific problems and propose some hard-headed solutions.

Who Is Accountable for Racial Equity in Health Care?

Who Is Accountable for Racial Equity in Health Care?
Journal of the American Medical Association. Vol. 299 No.7, February 20: 814-816.

Blustein, J.
02/20/2008

Racial disparities are a ubiquitous feature of the US medical landscape, with health care delivery substantially segregated by race/ethnicity. Recent evidence from hospitals,1-3 nursing homes,4-5 and physicians' offices6 suggests that those caring for minority patients do not perform as well as those who care for nonminority patients, on average. This evidence is troubling but hardly surprising because the limited resources of those who care for the poor have helped to create and sustain racial disparities. As the United States enters an era of accountability in health care, it is time to consider these familiar circumstances from a new perspective.

IESP Brief: Public Funding for After-School Programs 1998-2008

IESP Brief: Public Funding for After-School Programs 1998-2008

Weinstein, M., Calabrese, T.
01/01/2008

The authors of this policy brief document that in the decade since the Open Society Institute awarded a challenge grant to TASC to encourage the creation of sustainable public funding streams for after-school programs, every level of government has dramatically increased public funding for comprehensive after-school programs in New York City.
The authors note that the City of New York has contributed an increasingly larger share of public support since the city launched its Out-of-School Time Initiative to provide kids with academic, cultural and recreational activities after school and during summers. The authors estimate that eight times more kids in kindergarten through high school attend after-school programs today than in 1998. "Over the past ten years in New York City," they conclude, "public support for after-school programs has become one of the foundations of service for children and youth."

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