Effects of employment-based programs on families by prior levels of disadvantage

Desiree Principe Alderson, Lisa A. Gennetian, Chantelle J. Dowsett, Amy Imes, Aletha C. Huston

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study examines how welfare and employment policies affect subpopulations of low-income families that have different levels of initial disadvantage. Education, prior earnings, and welfare receipt are used to measure disadvantage. The analysis of data from experiments suggests that employment-based programs have no effects on economic well-being among the least-disadvantaged low-income, single-parent families, but they have positive effects on employment and income for the most-disadvantaged and moderately disadvantaged families. These programs increase school achievement and enrollment in center-based child care of children only in moderately disadvantaged families. The most-disadvantaged families are found to increase use of child care that is not center based. Parents in these families experience depressive symptoms and aggravation. The findings raise questions about how to support families at the lowest end of the economic spectrum.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)361-393
Number of pages33
JournalSocial Service Review
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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