Population: Low-Income Populations

Welfare Recipients

Since its founding, MDRC has been a leading developer and evaluator of programs focused on improving the self-sufficiency and economic circumstances of welfare recipients and their families.

The Latest
Issue Focus

The surging unemployment rate brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic is likely to remain unusually high for many months. The findings from two large-scale studies suggest that public/nonprofit employers are much more likely to hire disadvantaged workers whose wages are subsidized than are private, for-profit employers.

Brief

The Breaking Barriers program, based in San Diego, provided employment services to lower-income individuals with disabilities. MDRC carried out a random assignment evaluation of the program. As part of the Building Evidence on Employment Strategies for Low-income Families project, MDRC is collecting additional administrative records to extend the original evaluation.

Key Documents
Testimony

Implications for Income Support Policy

On the eve of the 15th anniversary of federal welfare reform, MDRC President Gordon Berlin describes the implications of the Great Recession and its effects on the labor market for welfare policy and other safety net programs. The speech was given at the 2011 Welfare Research and Evaluation Conference, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Report

A Synthesis of Research

Most welfare programs seek to ensure that poor families have adequate income while at the same time encouraging self-sufficiency. Based on studies of 28 programs involving more than 100,000 sample members, this synthesis compares the costs, benefits, and returns on investment of six welfare program strategies – from the perspectives of participants, government budgets, and society as a whole.

Testimony

Presented Before the U.S. House Committee on Ways and Means, Human Resources Subcommittee

On July 30, 2014, MDRC’s Dan Bloom testified before the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Human Resources on what research says about the effectiveness of subsidized employment programs in promoting work, reducing poverty, and improving other important outcomes.