MDRC has conducted many studies of antipoverty strategies that use economic incentives to improve the financial security of low-income people, encourage employment, and break generational cycles of poverty and dependence.

The Latest
Brief

The Behavioral Interventions to Advance Self-Sufficiency (BIAS) project launched an intervention in California to engage families in a welfare-to-work program and another intervention in New York to encourage low-income single adults without dependent children to attend a meeting about an earnings supplement program intended to provide an incentive to work.

Report

FSS provides case management services and a long-term escrow-savings account to housing-assisted families; an enhanced version also offered short-term cash work incentives. Six-year results of the random assignment evaluation show few significant effects overall for either program. However, the enhanced program increased employment and earnings for participants not working at enrollment.

Key Documents
Report

A Guide for Practitioners Based on the Jobs-Plus Demonstration

This guide contains practical advice on implementing a program model — known as the Jobs-Plus Community Initiative for Public Housing Families (Jobs-Plus) — aimed at helping public housing residents find and keep jobs.

Brief

Lessons from Research and Practice

This 12-page practitioner brief offers lessons for policy and practice from MDRC-conducted random assignment studies of five programs that provided earnings supplements to low-income parents to encourage employment and increase the payoff of low-wage work.

Report

Findings from Family Rewards 2.0

A program in Memphis and the Bronx offered cash incentives, coupled with family guidance, to poor families for meeting certain health care, education, and work milestones. The program increased income and reduced poverty, increased dental visits and health status, reduced employment somewhat, and had few effects on students’ education.