Study Details for:
Michalopoulos, Charles, Doug Tattrie, Cynthia Miller, Philip K. Robins, Pamela Morris, David Gyarmati, Cynthia Redcross, Kelly Foley, and Reuben Ford (2002). Making work pay: Final report on the Self-Sufficiency Project for long-term welfare recipients, Ottawa, Ontario: SDRC. [SSP Plus versus Control]

Study URL: http://www.mdrc.org/publication/final-report-self-sufficiency-project-long-term-welfare-recipients (Link not working?)

Evaluation: Self-Sufficiency Project (SSP)

Program Studied: SSP Plus
See Study Characteristics tab below for more information about this program.

Strength of Evidence: 1-High High (3 of 3)

Populations Targeted Long-term welfare recipients, Parents, Single parents, Welfare population
Setting Mixed (urban and rural)
Services Provided Case management, Financial incentives or sanctions, Soft skills training, Training, Work readiness activities
Outcome Domains Examined Favorable Impacts FoundShort-term employment, Favorable Impacts FoundLong-term employment, Favorable Impacts FoundShort-term earnings, Favorable Impacts FoundLong-term earnings, Favorable Impacts FoundShort-term benefit receipt, Favorable Impacts FoundLong-term benefit receipt

Findings

Toggle Short-term employmentShort-term employment
Outcome Treatment Group Comparison Group Impact Findings Strength of Evidence Study Sample Sample Size Data Source and Timing

Monthly employment rate, year 1, %
Adjusted mean = 38.4 Adjusted mean = 28.6 9.8 Favorable 1-High High (3 of 3) SSP Plus versus control group 507 people 18-month survey
Toggle Long-term employmentLong-term employment
Outcome Treatment Group Comparison Group Impact Findings Strength of Evidence Study Sample Sample Size Data Source and Timing
1 This is a cumulative measure of full time employment.

Currently working, month 52, %
Adjusted mean = 53.0 Adjusted mean = 51.0 2 No Effect 1-High High (3 of 3) SSP Plus versus control group 507 people 54-month survey

Monthly employment rate, year 3, %
Adjusted mean = 49.2 Adjusted mean = 38.1 11.1 Favorable 1-High High (3 of 3) SSP Plus versus control group 507 people 36-month survey

Monthly employment rate, year 4, %
Adjusted mean = 53.2 Adjusted mean = 43.6 9.5 Favorable 1-High High (3 of 3) SSP Plus versus control group 507 people 54-month survey

Number of months of full time employment since random assignment1
Adjusted mean = 17.5 Adjusted mean = 10.1 7.4 Favorable 1-High High (3 of 3) SSP Plus versus control group 507 people 18- month survey; 36-month survey; 54-month survey
Toggle Short-term earningsShort-term earnings
Outcome Treatment Group Comparison Group Impact Findings Strength of Evidence Study Sample Sample Size Data Source and Timing

Annual earnings, year 1, $
Adjusted mean = 2,945 Adjusted mean = 1,897 1,048 Favorable 1-High High (3 of 3) SSP Plus versus control group 507 people 18-month survey
Toggle Long-term earningsLong-term earnings
Outcome Treatment Group Comparison Group Impact Findings Strength of Evidence Study Sample Sample Size Data Source and Timing

Annual earnings, year 3, $
Adjusted mean = 5,330 Adjusted mean = 3,743 1,587 Favorable 1-High High (3 of 3) SSP Plus versus control group 507 people 36-month survey

Annual earnings, year 4, $
Adjusted mean = 6,886 Adjusted mean = 4,878 2,008 Favorable 1-High High (3 of 3) SSP Plus versus control group 507 people 54-month survey
Toggle Short-term benefit receiptShort-term benefit receipt
Outcome Treatment Group Comparison Group Impact Findings Strength of Evidence Study Sample Sample Size Data Source and Timing

Monthly rate of Income Assistance receipt, year 1, %
Adjusted mean = 81.9 Adjusted mean = 90.9 -9.1 Favorable 1-High High (3 of 3) SSP Plus versus control group 507 people IA records, year 1

Income Assistance payments, year 1, $
Adjusted mean = 7,083 Adjusted mean = 7,752 -669 Favorable 1-High High (3 of 3) SSP Plus versus control group 507 people IA records, year 1
Toggle Long-term benefit receiptLong-term benefit receipt
Outcome Treatment Group Comparison Group Impact Findings Strength of Evidence Study Sample Sample Size Data Source and Timing

Monthly rate of Income Assistance receipt, year 5, %
Adjusted mean = 42.9 Adjusted mean = 54.5 -11.6 Favorable 1-High High (3 of 3) SSP Plus versus control group 507 people IA records, year 5

Income Assistance payments, year 5, $
Adjusted mean = 3,731 Adjusted mean = 4,594 -862 Favorable 1-High High (3 of 3) SSP Plus versus control group 507 people IA records, year 5

Study Characteristics

Toggle Participants & Program Details Participants & Program Details
Participant Detail The report does not describe the characteristics of the individuals included in this experiment. The characteristics of these individuals at the time of random assignment were described in an earlier publication (Quets et al. 1999) as being more than 95 percent female; one-quarter were age 19 through 24, and more than one-third were age 30 through 35. More than half (56 percent) had never been married; 52 percent had no high school diploma, and another 38 percent had a high school diploma but no higher education. Nearly all (93 percent) had been employed in the past, for an average of seven years. Slightly more than one-quarter reported a physical problem that limited their activities. All were parents; 60 percent had one child, 30 percent had two children, and the remainder had three or more children.
Program Services The Self-Sufficiency Project provided financial incentives to work by providing an earning supplement to eligible, former welfare recipients in two Canadian provinces. To be eligible, single parents who had been on Income Assistance (IA) for at least one year had to leave Income Assistance for full-time work (of at least 30 hours per week) within a year of entering the SSP program. They could sign up to receive an earning supplement in the amount of half of the difference between their earnings from full-time work and a benchmark level, which was set separately for each province in each year. The supplement amount was not affected by unearned income such as child support, and it roughly doubled the earnings of many low-wage workers. The earning supplement was voluntary and lasted up to three years as long as participants continued to meet eligibility requirements.

In addition, people in the SSP Plus group were eligible to receive several services to assist them with employment, including an employment plan, a resume service, job clubs and other workshops, job coaching, and job leads. People assigned to this group could select among several services to meet their self-identified needs and could receive the services at any time in the year following random assignment. Participation in services was voluntary.
Program Duration Individuals in the SSP Plus group were eligible to receive additional services if they initiated participation in those services within a year of random assignment (duration of the services was not specified). They received an earnings supplement for up to 3 years.
Comparison Services People in the comparison group were Income Assistance clients who were not eligible to receive any SSP services or earnings supplements.
Toggle Study Design Study Design
Strength of Evidence Description High
Group Formation This experiment was nested within a larger evaluation of SSP that spanned two Canadian provinces and 30 calendar months. In this experiment, researchers randomly selected single parents, age 19 and older, from a list of people in one of the provinces and in 5 calendar months who had received Income Assistance (IA) in the current month and in 11 of the prior 12 months. Those who consented to participate in the study were randomly assigned to three conditions: SSP alone, SSP Plus, and a comparison condition in which people were not eligible to receive SSP. People eligible for the study had equal probability (0.33) of being assigned to each condition. This review focuses on the contrast between the latter two conditions.
Effect Calculation The effects reported by the authors and displayed on this site are the control group mean (adjusted for age, sex, socioeconomic status, measures of the outcome at baseline, and measures of the person's expectations for the coming year) plus the coefficient on the treatment variable.
Notes on Reported Outcomes The study also reported findings in each year after random assignment for employment (overall, full-time, and part-time), earnings, receipt and level of income assistance, and receipt and level of income assistance plus SSP supplement. In addition, the study reported findings on wages (month 52), income sources, total income, incidence of low-income status, cumulative earnings since random assignment, and cumulative months receiving income assistance since random assignment.
Subgroups Studied None
Other Domains Examined None
Toggle Study Setting Study Setting
Setting Details New Brunswick, Canada
Timing of Study People eligible for the study were randomly assigned between November 1994 and March 1995.
Study Funding The study was funded by a contract with Human Resources Development Canada.
Study URL http://www.mdrc.org/publication/final-report-self-sufficiency-project-long-term-welfare-recipients