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.
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.
Early Impacts of the Grameen America Program
Grameen America provides loans to low-income women who are seeking to start or expand their small businesses. Early results from a random assignment evaluation show that Grameen participants are more likely to operate their own businesses and to establish credit scores and less likely to experience material hardship.
Early Findings From the Family Self-Sufficiency Program Evaluation
This first national randomized controlled trial of the Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) program — the main federal strategy to help housing voucher recipients make progress toward economic mobility — examined program implementation, participants’ engagement, and impacts on labor force participation and benefits receipt in the first 24 months of this five-year program.
Findings from the Subprime Lending Data Exploration Project
Medical debt was a main theme emerging from a survey and interviews with individuals who use payday or subprime installment loans. Many respondents reported using such loans to pay medical bills or to cover regular expenses that may have originated from a health-related emergency.
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.
A Case Study
Drawing from the Behavioral Interventions to Advance Self-Sufficiency (BIAS) project, this case study is designed as a teaching guide for students and practitioners. Using the example of an effort to increase participation in a tax-credit program, exercises help readers apply behavioral science principles to a real-life problem.
Lessons from the BIAS Project
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.
The SIMPLER framework was developed for the Behavioral Interventions to Advance Self-Sufficiency (BIAS) project ― the first major effort to apply behavioral insights to human services programs in the United States. SIMPLER summarizes several key behavioral concepts that can guide practitioners interested in using behavioral insights to enhance service delivery.