Asset Building


36-Month Impacts of the Grameen America Program

March, 2022

Grameen America provides microloans to women living in poverty seeking to launch or expand small businesses. The program resulted in a reduction of material hardship and an increase in credit scores, business ownership, business earnings, and nonretirement savings. It also improved participants’ feelings of overall financial well-being.


Findings From the Family Self-Sufficiency Evaluation

July, 2021

The federal Family Self-Sufficiency program works with Housing Choice Voucher recipients to foster economic self-sufficiency and boost assets through case management and an escrow account for participants’ increased earnings. This three-year report examines program implementation, participants’ engagement, and impacts on employment, government benefits receipt, and material and financial well-being.


18-Month Impacts of the Grameen America Program

September, 2020

Grameen America is a microfinance institution that provides business loans to women in poverty in the United States. Results from a randomized controlled trial show the program increased business ownership and earnings, credit worthiness, and savings, and reduced material hardship among participants, but it did not increase overall net income.

Issue Focus
May, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has heightened the nation’s awareness of the critical role that low-wage workers — cashiers, nursing assistants, delivery people — play in our lives. MDRC’s Cynthia Miller summarizes research about how expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit can effectively supplement their earnings and lead to other positive benefits for them and their families.


Interim Findings from the Paycheck Plus Demonstration in Atlanta

March, 2020
Cynthia Miller, Lawrence F. Katz, Edith Yang, Alexandra Bernardi, Adam Isen, Kali Aloisi

The Earned Income Tax Credit reduces poverty for many low-income families but does little for workers without dependent children. Paycheck Plus, being tested in New York City and Atlanta, offers an expanded credit to this population. This report presents its two-year impacts on employment, earnings, and income in Atlanta.


Early Findings From the Family Self-Sufficiency Program Evaluation

March, 2019
Nandita Verma, Stephen Freedman, Betsy L. Tessler, Stephen Nuñez, Barbara Fink

This first national randomized controlled trial of the Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) program — the main federal strategy to help housing voucher recipients make progress toward economic mobility — examined program implementation, participants’ engagement, and impacts on labor force participation and benefits receipt in the first 24 months of this five-year program.


Early Impacts of the Grameen America Program

March, 2019
Kelsey Schaberg, M. Victoria Quiroz Becerra, Toni Castro-Cosio, Stephen Nuñez, Richard Hendra

Grameen America provides loans to low-income women who are seeking to start or expand their small businesses. Early results from a random assignment evaluation show that Grameen participants are more likely to operate their own businesses and to establish credit scores and less likely to experience material hardship.


Final Impact Findings from the Paycheck Plus Demonstration in New York City

September, 2018
Cynthia Miller, Lawrence F. Katz, Gilda Azurdia, Adam Isen, Caroline Schultz, Kali Aloisi

Paycheck Plus raises the top tax credit for low-income workers without dependent children from $500 to $2,000. In a three-year test, the program increased after-credit earnings, reducing severe poverty; modestly improved employment among women and more disadvantaged men; and led to more noncustodial parents paying child support.