Semistructured interviews involve an interviewer asking some prespecified, open-ended questions, with follow-up questions based on what the interviewee has to say. This Reflections on Methodology post describes a semistructured interview protocol recently used to explore how children who experience poverty perceive their situations, their economic status, and public benefit programs.
This paper analyzes variation in the medium-term effects of the oversubscribed Boston Public Schools prekindergarten program. Prekindergarten gains persisted if kids applied to and won a seat in a higher-quality elementary school.
To improve outcomes among high-interest borrowers, policymakers need to understand what is driving usage. This second post in MDRC’s Reflections on Methodology series discusses how a data discovery process revealed clusters of borrowers who differed greatly in the kinds of loans and lenders they used and in their loan outcomes.
This paper presents findings from in-depth interviews with 16 couples who participated in the Supporting Healthy Marriage (SHM) program. Couples reported benefiting from SHM’s focus on communication and conflict management, but financial needs and lack of social supports placed stress on their relationships throughout their tenure in SHM.
Using an alternative to classical statistics, this paper reanalyzes results from three published studies of interventions to increase employment and reduce welfare dependency. The analysis formally incorporates prior beliefs about the interventions, characterizing the results in terms of the distribution of possible effects, and generally confirms the earlier published findings.
Time Use Estimates for Economically Disadvantaged and Nondisadvantaged Married Couples in the United States
Contrary to some expectations, economically disadvantaged couples spend slightly more time together than nondisadvantaged ones, and more of that time is spent in leisure activities, according to this paper from the Supporting Healthy Marriage Project. While these couples may face different barriers to participating in voluntary programs than higher-income couples, their “time crunch” appears to be no worse.
This working paper introduces the Supporting Healthy Marriage evaluation, the first large-scale, multisite experiment that is testing voluntary marriage education programs for low-income married couples with children in eight sites across the country. The year-long programs consist of a series of marriage education workshops with additional family support services and referrals.
After one year, CEO’s transitional jobs program generated a large but short-lived increase in employment for ex-prisoners. A subgroup of recently released prisoners showed positive effects on recidivism: They were less likely to have their parole revoked, to be convicted of a felony, and to be reincarcerated than the control group.
Basic Characteristics of Economically Disadvantaged Couples in the U.S.
Using recent surveys and published reports, this working paper assembles a portrait of the attitudes and behaviors of disadvantaged married couples. It gathers and assesses descriptive statistics on the formation and stability, characteristics, and quality of marriages in the low-income population in the U.S. We welcome discussion and comments on this working paper.