The Right Tool for the Job: A Meta-Regression of Employment Strategies' Effects on Different Outcomes

Publisher: Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation
May 30, 2017
Lauren Vollmer, Annalisa Mastri, Alyssa Maccarone, and Emily Sama-Miller

Key Findings:

  • Several interventions consistently improve low-income adults’ job-market outcomes.
  • Most individual strategies, although effective, are associated with modest positive effects. No single strategy on its own is associated with substantial gains.
  • Improving education and training outcomes is easier than increasing employment or independence from public assistance.

The final brief from the Employment Strategies for Low-Income Adults Evidence Review (ESER) uses a rigorous analysis to assess which specific employment strategies worked best overall for achieving specific outcomes and for serving specific types of people. The brief looks across all the studies with the strongest evidence in the ESER database to identify which interventions had the highest and lowest probabilities of improving outcomes. The brief’s meta-analytic approach makes it possible to summarize strategies’ effects across studies and determine whether some interventions and strategies have different effects for different outcomes. It also aims to identify which strategies are most effective for particular types of low-income workers.