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Sustained earnings gains for residents in a public housing jobs program: Seven-year findings from the Jobs-Plus demonstration. (Riccio 2010)

Citation

Riccio, J. (2010). Sustained earnings gains for residents in a public housing jobs program: Seven-year findings from the Jobs-Plus demonstration. MDRC policy brief. New York: MDRC.

Highlights

  • The study’s objective was to examine the impact of the Jobs-Plus program on the long-term earnings of residents in housing developments in three cities in the United States.
  • The study was a randomized controlled trial that used data from administrative records to compare outcomes between treatment and control group members seven years after random assignment.
  • The study did not find any statistically significant effects of Jobs-Plus on earnings.
  • The quality of causal evidence presented in this report is high because it was based on a well-implemented randomized controlled trial. This means we would be confident that any estimated effects would be attributable to Jobs-Plus and not to other factors. However, the study did not find statistically significant effects.

Intervention Examined

The Jobs-Plus Community Revitalization Initiative for Public Housing Families (Jobs-Plus) Program

Features of the Intervention

The Jobs-Plus program sought to help public housing residents gain employment and increase earnings. The comprehensive program included employment-related services and activities, financial incentives to work, and community support to work. The program was targeted at all working-age, nondisabled residents.

Features of the Study

The study used a randomized controlled trial to evaluate the Jobs-Plus program. Cities were selected based on a national competition, and housing authorities had to have at least two large developments that met the study criteria to qualify for the study. The author randomly assigned 15 housing developments to either the treatment or comparison condition when the program launched in 1998. Each city accounted for a matched cluster of two or three similar housing developments; one was selected to implement the treatment (the other one or two housing developments represented the comparison condition). The impact analysis focused on people ages 21 to 61 years who were not identified by the housing authority as disabled. The authors obtained data for seven years after the implementation of Jobs-Plus. The evaluation included seven housing developments with a total of 2,297 residents in the following three cities: Dayton, Ohio; Los Angeles, California; and St. Paul, Minnesota.

Findings

  • The study did not find any statistically significant effects of Jobs-Plus on average annual earnings.

Considerations for Interpreting the Findings

The author reported the findings of the analyses as statistically significant. However, the author did not define the statistical significance threshold. In prior reports about this evaluation, some findings were reported as significant at the 10 percent level. Without further details about the specific p-value or the threshold used to establish significance, we could not be sure that the findings reported were significant at the 5 percent level, so we have reported that there were no statistically significant impacts.

Causal Evidence Rating

The quality of causal evidence presented in this report is high because it was based on a well-implemented randomized controlled trial. This means we would be confident that any estimated effects would be attributable to Jobs-Plus and not to other factors. However, the study did not find statistically significant effects.

Additional Sources

Bloom, H., Riccio, J., Verma, N., & Walter, J. (2005). Promoting work in public housing: The effectiveness of Jobs-Plus. Final report. New York: MDRC.

Reviewed by CLEAR

November 2016

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