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Publications by Harry Holzer on Poverty and Safety Net

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Expanding Economic Opportunity for Young Men and Boys of Color through Employment and Training (Occasional Paper)
Shayne Spaulding, Robert I. Lerman, Harry Holzer, Lauren Eyster

Young men of color have long experienced lower earnings and higher unemployment compared to young white men. Many factors have contributed to these negative outcomes: persistent discrimination, hiring practices of employers, geographic and social isolation, substandard secondary education, lack of career and postsecondary educational guidance, inadequate career and technical education, and higher incarceration rates. This paper focuses on promising strategies for improving the labor market outcomes of low-income young men of color. It outlines an employment-focused approach to improving economic opportunities and outcomes for these young men, highlighting potential policy, system and institutional reforms as well as program investments.

Posted to Web: February 04, 2015Publication Date: February 04, 2015

Raising Job Quality and Skills for American Workers: Creating More-Effective Education and Workforce Development Systems in the States (Research Report)
Harry Holzer

To improve the employment rates and earnings of Americans workers, we need to create more-coherent and more-effective education and workforce development systems, focusing primarily (though not exclusively) on disadvantaged youth and adults, and with education and training more clearly targeted towards firms and sectors that provide good-paying jobs. This paper proposes a new set of competitive grants from the federal government to states that would fund training partnerships between employers in key industries, education providers, workforce agencies, and intermediaries at the state level, plus a range of other supports and services. The grants would especially reward the expansion of programs that appear successful when evaluated with randomized controlled trial (RCT) techniques. The evidence suggests that these grants could generate benefits that are several times larger than their costs, including higher earnings and lower unemployment rates among the disadvantaged.

Posted to Web: December 07, 2011Publication Date: November 30, 2011

Penny Wise, Pound Foolish: Why Fighting Child Poverty in the Great Recession Makes Sense (Research Report)
Harry Holzer

Child poverty generates serious long-term economic costs not only for those children (when they become adults), but for the U.S. economy as a whole. This paper argues that these long-term costs will rise because of the Great Recession, as child poverty rises substantially and remains elevated for years to come. Children growing in newly poor families, and/or those whose parents suffer permanent job loss, will likely have worse educational and employment outcomes. Those young people who enter the labor market during this period will suffer reduced earnings as well. This will impose fiscal as well as economic costs on the U.S. in the future. Investments to reduce child poverty in both the short and long-terms thus make economic sense for the U.S., despite the nation’s ongoing fiscal crisis.

Posted to Web: September 21, 2010Publication Date: September 16, 2010

Reducing Poverty and Economic Distress after ARRA: Next Steps for Short-Term Recovery and Long-Term Economic Security (Summary)
Peter Edelman, Olivia Golden, Harry Holzer

Even though children in the United States have higher poverty rates than adults and the elderly, federal spending on kids is disproportionately small and has been shrinking for years. The recession threatened to eat away further at those investments, prompting the president and Congress to temporarily boost funding for some two dozen federal programs that benefit children. To support the development of children in low-income families, we recommend making some of those provisions permanent. We also propose new investments in the preschool and postsecondary years when public spending is at its lowest, while also experimenting with new initiatives to support low-income children.

Posted to Web: July 15, 2010Publication Date: July 15, 2010

The "Great Recession" and the Well-Being of American Children (Testimony)
Harry Holzer

High rates of child poverty exist in the United States even in the best of times, and this poverty tends to limit the health, education, and earnings of adults who grew up poor throughout their lives. This creates costs not only for the individuals themselves and their families, but for the U.S. economy as a whole. The current recession will raise child poverty rates substantially and for many years to come, thus exacerbating these problems. Even short spells of poverty or parental unemployment can scar children and youth for many years. Policies that tend to limit child poverty in the next few years by strengthening the safety net, raising employment, or improving the skills of disadvantaged children and youth might thus have a high social payoff over time.

Posted to Web: June 08, 2010Publication Date: June 08, 2010

Improving Education and Employment for Disadvantaged Young Men (Research Report)
Carolyn J. Heinrich, Harry Holzer

Low high school graduation rates and sharply declining employment rates continue to plague disadvantaged youth, especially young men. We review the evidence base on programs and policies such as youth development for adolescents and young teens; programs seeking to improve educational attainment and employment for in-school youth; and programs that try to "reconnect" those who are out of school and frequently out of work, including public employment programs. We identify a number of programmatic strategies that are promising or even proven, based on rigorous evaluations, for disadvantaged youth with different circumstances.

Posted to Web: May 06, 2010Publication Date: May 06, 2010

Expanding the EITC to Help More Low-Wage Workers (Research Brief)
Harry Holzer, Additional Authors

The case for expanding the EITC for workers without qualifying children is compelling, as the current EITC provides little help to this group. We argue that the EITC for these workers should: - provide these workers with a strong incentive to increase work effort;  - provide a significant subsidy to low-earning workers working near a full-time work level; - begin phasing out only after an individual is working at a level at least equivalent to full-time minimum wage work; - apply to both prime-age and younger workers; and - be effectively coordinated with the Making Work Pay Credit.

Posted to Web: November 02, 2009Publication Date: October 20, 2009

Testimony on Income and Poverty in the United States: 2008 (Testimony)
Harry Holzer

Between 2007 and 2008, real incomes fell and poverty rose in the United States, Institute Fellow Harry Holzer testified before the Joint Economic Committee of Congress. Even if the recession ends this year, rising unemployment will mean that real income keeps falling while poverty increases for a few more years — and almost certainly by much more than occurred between 2007 and 2008. It will likely take several years beyond 2010 before real income and poverty fully recover from the effects of the downturn.

Posted to Web: September 10, 2009Publication Date: September 10, 2009

A Safety Net For the Least Fortunate (Commentary)
Peter Edelman, Mark Greenberg, Harry Holzer

In this Washington Post commentary, Institute Fellow Harry Holzer suggests ways to help those most adversely affected by the economic downturn—low-income single mothers, disadvantaged adults, youths, and their families.

Posted to Web: February 17, 2009Publication Date: August 19, 2008

Workforce Development as an Antipoverty Strategy (Occasional Paper)
Harry Holzer

In this paper I note the basic paradox of workforce development policy: that, in an era in which skills are more important than ever as determinants of labor market earnings, we spend fewer and fewer public (federal) dollars on workforce development over time. I present trends in funding and in program evolution over time for programs funded by the Department of Labor and others. I then review the cost-effectiveness of programs for adults and youth from the evaluation literature. I consider some other possible reasons for funding declines, and some newer developments in workforce policy, mostly at the state and local levels, before concluding with some policy recommendations.

Posted to Web: October 30, 2008Publication Date: October 30, 2008

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