This Research-In-Brief summarizes an important new book by Barbara R. Bergmann, professor of economics at American University and an affiliated member of the IWPR Information Network. Published by the Russell Sage Foundation in 1996, “Saving Our Children From Poverty: What the United States Can Learn From France” draws important lessons for the United States from the French experience with policies that aid families with children.
In contrast to stereotypes of pathological dependency on public assistance, single mothers participating in the AFDC program actually “package” income from several different sources, including paid employment, means- and non-means tested welfare benefits, and income from other family members, to provide for themselves and their children. These patterns are described in a new Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) study, “Welfare that Works,” based on a nationally-representative sample of single welfare mothers generated from the US Bureau of the Census’ Survey of Income and Program Participation.
Supporters of micro-enterprise argue that self-employment is a strategy that can improve the economic well-being of low-income families and promote economic development in poverty stricken urban areas.