The contributors to this book provide a provocative assessment of the effectiveness of various policies and practices designed to help disadvantaged segments of our population overcome the obstacles in their path to upward economic mobility.
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It is well known that inequality in economic outcomes has increased in recent decades. Those at the lower end of the spectrum, with less education and fewer job skills, have limited opportunities for economic mobility. Even if they are working, they remain poor and their prospects for greater prosperity are bleak.
How can the specific needs of low-wage workers and households in poor communities be met so that greater economic opportunity is possible?
The contributors to this book provide a provocative assessment of the effectiveness of various policies and practices designed to help disadvantaged segments of our population overcome the obstacles in their path to upward economic mobility. Included are discussions of the following specific questions:
* What are the trends in wages, work, occupations, and economic resources--the "material circumstances" of low-income work¬ers--and what are their implications for economic mobility?
* How effective are the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and welfare reform in improving the lives of single women with chil¬dren?
* How well do education retention programs work in meeting the needs of low-income adults?
* What are the shortcomings of financial aid policies in serving nontraditional students, and how can policies be altered to better serve them?
* How effective are residential mobility programs?
* How effective are various workforce investment programs in linking workers to work and to greater economic opportunities?
* How well do correctional programs work in helping ex-offenders reenter the labor market?
* In evaluating community-based programs and services, what should practitioners know about the limits of such evaluation, and what should they do?
Maude Toussaint-Comeau is an economist with the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. Bruce D. Meyer is McCormick Foundation Professor at the Harris School of Public Policy, University of Chicago.
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