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

Lawrence Katz explores questions raised by findings from the Behavioral Interventions to Advance Self-Sufficiency (BIAS) project: the potential effect of behavioral nudges on long-term outcomes, determining who responds to behavioral nudges but would not otherwise participate in a program, and moving to higher-intensity efforts when low-cost interventions are not enough.

Issue Focus

Researchers developing behavioral interventions begin by defining a problem, identifying “bottlenecks” that might hamper desired outcomes, and designing and testing possible solutions. In this Expert Commentary from the final report on the Behavioral Interventions to Advance Self-Sufficiency (BIAS) project, Crystal Hall suggests three ideas for expanding the use of this process.

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.