In this commentary originally published in Route Fifty, experts from MDRC’s Center for Applied Behavioral Science and BIT North America describe how government agencies can use behavioral science to adapt policies, programs, and services during the continuing pandemic crisis.
When Washington state’s Division of Child Support closed its offices in March 2020 in response to COVID-19, its employment program—Families Forward Washington—kept running with minimal interruption, because the original design was based on working remotely. Its model may offer useful pointers for other service agencies for adapting to the pandemic.
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.
Evaluating the Effects of Santa Clara County Housing Authority’s Rent Reform
Amid a budget crunch, the Santa Clara Housing Authority reduced its subsidies to low-income renters in 2013. This retrospective study shows that the decrease did not affect average employment and earnings over the next four years, as some economic theories might have predicted.
Interim Findings from the Paycheck Plus Demonstration in Atlanta
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.
This report presents 27- to 30-month impacts of an alternative rent policy for housing voucher recipients in four locations. Voucher program tenure and monthly housing subsidies increased for recipients, and housing agencies’ administrative burdens decreased. Average earnings did not rise overall, but earnings increased in two locations and employment increased in one.
This report presents early impacts on an alternative rent policy designed to reward work among housing voucher recipients. The policy increased earnings in two of four locations, reduced administrative burdens in all four housing agencies, and somewhat reduced tenants’ rent and utilities expenses and their likelihood of exiting the voucher program.
Successful Collaborations That Improve Outcomes in Prisoner Reentry and Child Support
In this article originally published in Policy & Practice magazine, MDRC’s Dan Bloom and Cindy Redcross offer lessons from successful collaborations to improve employment and other outcomes for reentering prisoners and noncustodial parents.
Final Impact Findings from the Paycheck Plus Demonstration in New York City
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.
The Center for Applied Behavioral Science (CABS) combines MDRC’s decades of experience tackling social policy issues with insights from behavioral science. This graphic explains the CABS’s approach to solving problems.