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Publications by Signe-Mary McKernan on Poverty and Safety Net

Viewing 1-10 of 40. Most recent listed first.Next Page >>

Prohibitions, Price Caps, and Disclosures: A Look at State Policies and Alternative Financial Product Use (Research Report)
Signe-Mary McKernan, Caroline Ratcliffe, Daniel Kuehn

This study uses nationally representative data from the 2009 National Financial Capability State-by-State Survey to examine the relationship between state-level alternative financial service (AFS) policies (prohibitions, price caps, disclosures) and consumer use of five AFS products: payday loans, auto title loans, pawn broker loans, refund anticipation loans, and rent-to-own transactions. The results suggest that more stringent price caps and prohibitions are associated with lower product use and do not support the hypothesis that prohibitions and price caps on one AFS product lead consumers to use other AFS products.

Posted to Web: August 30, 2013Publication Date: August 30, 2013

Less Than Equal: Racial Disparities in Wealth Accumulation (Research Report)
Signe-Mary McKernan, Caroline Ratcliffe, C. Eugene Steuerle, Sisi Zhang

Income inequality understates the size of the economic gap between whites and minorities in the United States. In 2010, whites on average had two times the income of blacks and Hispanics, but six times the wealth. Analyses of wealth accumulation over the life cycle show that the racial wealth gap grows sharply with age. Wealth isn't just money in the bank, it's insurance against tough times, tuition to get a better education and a better job, savings to retire on, and a springboard into the middle class.

Posted to Web: April 26, 2013Publication Date: April 26, 2013

Lost Generations? Wealth Building among Young Americans (Policy Briefs)
C. Eugene Steuerle, Signe-Mary McKernan, Caroline Ratcliffe, Sisi Zhang

Despite the Great Recession and slow recovery, the American dream of working hard, saving more, and becoming wealthier than one's parents holds true for many. Unless you're under 40. Stagnant wages, diminishing job opportunities, and lost home values may be painting a vastly different future for Gen X and Gen Y. Today's political discussions often focus on preserving the wealth and benefits of older Americans and the baby boomers. Often lost in this debate is attention to younger generations whose wealth losses, or lack of long-term gains, have been even greater.

Posted to Web: March 15, 2013Publication Date: March 15, 2013

Child Poverty and Its Lasting Consequence: Summary (Fact Sheet / Data at a Glance)
Caroline Ratcliffe, Signe-Mary McKernan

Nearly half of children born to poor parents remained poor half their childhoods. Black children are especially disadvantaged: two-thirds of poor black newborns are persistently poor. Children who are poor early in life (age 0-2) are 30 percent less likely to complete high school than those first poor later in childhood, even after controlling for poverty duration and other factors. Reaching vulnerable children at birth is vital, as a child’s early environment can affect brain development. This factsheet summarizes the report “Child Poverty and Its Lasting Consequence".

Posted to Web: September 20, 2012Publication Date: September 20, 2012

Child Poverty and Its Lasting Consequence (Occasional Paper)
Caroline Ratcliffe, Signe-Mary McKernan

One in six newborns were born poor over the past 40 years, and nearly half remained poor half their childhoods. These persistently poor children are nearly 90 percent more likely than never-poor children to enter their 20s without completing high school and are four times more likely to give birth outside of marriage during their teenage years. Children whose parents did not complete high school are less likely to complete high school themselves. This paper examines the magnitude of child poverty, family characteristics related to childhood poverty persistence, and childhood poverty’s lasting consequences.

Posted to Web: September 20, 2012Publication Date: September 20, 2012

Do Financial Support and Inheritance Contribute to the Racial Wealth Gap? (Fact Sheet/Opportunity and Ownership Project)
Signe-Mary McKernan, Caroline Ratcliffe, Margaret Simms, Sisi Zhang

Large differences in wealth holdings exist between white households and their African American and Hispanic counterparts. This factsheet summarizes key findings from a study that explored the impact of private transfers on racial and ethnic wealth gaps. It found that small cash transfers had little or no effect on wealth holdings, but in the case of African American households large inheritances or gifts explained about 12 percent of the difference in wealth between them and white households.

Posted to Web: September 07, 2012Publication Date: September 07, 2012

Tax Time Account Direct Mail Pilot Evaluation (Research Report)
Caroline Ratcliffe, Signe-Mary McKernan

Millions of U.S. adults are unbanked and lack access to safe financial accounts. The MyAccountCard pilot program offered low-income adults a prepaid card account that could be used for electronic delivery of their tax refunds and everyday financial transactions. Key findings from the evaluation, designed to test different account features, include (1) the card account appealed most to its target population: likely unbanked individuals were three times more likely to take-up the card; (2) individuals are price sensitive: charging a monthly fee decreased card take-up by roughly 40 percent; and (3) the savings account as designed in this pilot was not perceived as valuable.

Posted to Web: September 05, 2012Publication Date: September 05, 2012

Weathering the Recession: The Financial Crisis and Family Wealth Changes in Low-Income Neighborhoods (Research Report)
Leah Hendey, Signe-Mary McKernan, Beadsie Woo

This report looks closely at what happened to assets, debts and home equity for families living in low-income neighborhoods during the Great Recession, using data from the longitudinal Making Connections Survey. We find that both average savings and debt amounts increased between 2005/06 and 2008/09, but asset and debt levels remained lower for vulnerable families, and low-income families disproportionally lost equity during the crisis. Yet even in 2008/09, home equity was substantial and an important component of wealth ($66,000, more than four times as much as families had in savings) for the nearly half of families who were homeowners.

Posted to Web: August 07, 2012Publication Date: August 07, 2012

Changes in Wealth of Low-Income Neighborhood Residents: A Local View of the Financial Crisis (Fact Sheet/Opportunity and Ownership Project)
Leah Hendey, Signe-Mary McKernan, Beadsie Woo

Using longitudinal Making Connections Survey data on 2,500 families in low-income neighborhoods, this fact sheet finds that access to credit and residents’ perceptions of their neighborhood are all related to wealth holdings, even after controlling for household characteristics. Residents who believed their neighborhood had shared values increased their total debt and equity from 2005/06 to 2008/09. High rates of subprime lending were associated with less saving and borrowing, perhaps signaling less access to credit. Our findings suggest that both household and place characteristics matter to wealth families accrue and illustrate the importance of paying attention to place and local conditions.

Posted to Web: August 07, 2012Publication Date: August 07, 2012

Can the Poor Accumulate Assets? (Fact Sheet/Opportunity and Ownership Project)
Signe-Mary McKernan, Caroline Ratcliffe, Trina Williams Shanks

Can the poor accumulate assets? Longitudinal data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics and programs targeted at helping families accumulate assets provide empirical evidence that they can. Following families over a 13-year period reveals that, even among those poor more than half the time, over 40 percent increased their net worth. And following low-income, asset-poor families over time revealed that 12 years later 44 percent saved enough to escape asset poverty. This shows that across the life course a substantial proportion of poor and low-income families do manage to accumulate assets.

Posted to Web: August 01, 2012Publication Date: August 01, 2012

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