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
Working Paper

This study analyzes the per person cost of a subsidized employment program for enrollees in Minnesota’s Temporary Assistance for Needy Families who could not otherwise find employment, and the costs of other services that all sample members may have received. The program’s primary goal was to move participants into unsubsidized employment.

Working Paper

A voluntary program in San Francisco arranged interviews for disadvantaged job-seekers and offered employers temporary wage subsidies to hire them. This study analyzes the one-year, per person program costs and the cost of non-program services, including education and training. The analysis indicates that the program was likely cost-beneficial from society’s perspective.

Key Documents

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.


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.


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.