Progress toward Self-Sufficiency for Low-Wage Workers

The Urban Institute, January 2010

124 Pages Posted: 24 Jan 2013

See all articles by Gregory P. Acs

Gregory P. Acs

The Urban Institute

Pamela Loprest

Urban Institute

Caroline E. Ratcliffe

The Urban Institute - Labor and Social Policy Center

Date Written: 2010

Abstract

Over the last decade, American social policy has increasingly focused on encouraging and requiring work for those receiving government supports. This study analyzes the dynamics of the low-wage labor market and the role of work supports in helping workers move toward economic self-sufficiency. Monthly data from January 2001 through January 2003 shows that over one-quarter of workers earn low wages. We find evidence that low-wage workers are moving to higher-wage jobs, but two years later, the majority of low-wage workers either remain in low-wage jobs or are not working. Our analysis provides some, although limited, evidence that government-provided work supports promote self-sufficiency.

Keywords: employment

Suggested Citation

Acs, Gregory P. and Loprest, Pamela and Ratcliffe, Caroline E., Progress toward Self-Sufficiency for Low-Wage Workers (2010). The Urban Institute, January 2010. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2206372 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2206372

Gregory P. Acs

The Urban Institute

2100 M Street, NW
Washington, DC 20037
United States

Pamela Loprest

Urban Institute ( email )

2100 M Street, NW
Washington, DC 20037
United States

Caroline E. Ratcliffe (Contact Author)

The Urban Institute - Labor and Social Policy Center ( email )

2100 M Street, NW
Washington, DC 20037
United States
202-261-5548 (Phone)
202-463-8522 (Fax)

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