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New Hope Project
Last registered on February 28, 2017

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
New Hope Project
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0002041
Initial registration date
February 28, 2017
Last updated
February 28, 2017 4:48 PM EST
Location(s)
Primary Investigator
Affiliation
MDRC
Other Primary Investigator(s)
Additional Trial Information
Status
Completed
Start date
1994-08-01
End date
2008-07-01
Secondary IDs
Abstract
Conceived of in the late 1980s and implemented in 1994 in two inner-city areas in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, New Hope was an innovative program designed to address problems in the low-wage labor market. Based on the simple premise that people who work full time should not be poor, New Hope provided full-time workers with several benefits: an earnings supplement to raise their income above poverty, low-cost health insurance, and subsidized child care. For those unable to find full-time work, the program offered help in finding a job and referral to a wage-paying community service job when necessary. During the demonstration project, each of these benefits was available for up to three years.

New Hope’s designers expected that its combination of benefits and services would have the direct effects of increasing parents’ employment and income and their use of health insurance and licensed child care. These effects, in turn, might influence the well-being of these adults and their families. MDRC, along with researchers from the University of Texas at Austin, UCLA, Northwestern University, and the University of North Carolina, examined New Hope’s effects in a large-scale random assignment study. The eight-year findings show that work supports can have a range of positive effects on low-income families and their children. Although the economic effects on employment and income lasted for most families only during the three years in which New Hope operated, some effects on children lasted into the longer term:

-- Employment, income, and parents’ well-being. Adults in the New Hope program were more likely to work than their control group counterparts, and the combination of earnings supplements and the Earned Income Tax Credit also resulted in higher incomes. Less consistently, New Hope also had some effects on parents’ well-being. Most of these effects did not last beyond the three years that the program operated — except for a subgroup of individuals facing moderate barriers to work, for whom New Hope increased employment, earnings, and income through Year 8.
-- Children’s environments. New Hope affected children’s environments by increasing parents’ use of center-based child care — an effect that persisted through Year 5, or two years after New Hope child care subsidies had ended. By Year 5 and lasting into Year 8, New Hope led children and youth to spend more time in structured, supervised out-of-school activities.
-- Children’s development. Positive effects on children’s academic performance and test scores were evident at the two- and five-year marks. By Year 8, effects on performance had faded, and new effects had emerged. New Hope children reported being more engaged in school than control group children, and their parents were less likely than control group parents to report that their children had repeated a grade, received poor grades, or been placed in special education. New Hope also improved children’s positive social behavior, effects that lasted through Year 8. At the eight-year point, New Hope adolescents were less likely than their control group counterparts to have cynical attitudes about work and were more likely to have taken part in employment and career preparation activities.
Registration Citation
Citation
Miller, Cynthia. 2017. "New Hope Project." AEA RCT Registry. February 28. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.2041-1.0.
Former Citation
Miller, Cynthia. 2017. "New Hope Project." AEA RCT Registry. February 28. http://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/2041/history/14542.
Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
The final New Hope model consisted of four key components:
• Earnings supplements. New Hope offered monthly cash payments to participants when they worked at least 30 hours per week and their earnings left the household below 200 percent of the poverty line. Combined with the EITC, New Hope’s earnings supplements raised most participants’ annual household income above the federal poverty threshold.
• Health insurance. New Hope offered a health insurance plan to participants who worked at least 30 hours per week but were not covered by employers’ health insurance or Medicaid. Participants were required to contribute toward the health insurance premium on a sliding scale that took into account their income and household size; New Hope subsidized the remainder. This benefit could also be used to pay part of the participant’s cost for employer-provided insurance if that amount was greater than the required co-pay.
• Child care assistance. New Hope offered financial assistance to cover child care expenses for parents working at least 30 hours per week. Participants were asked to pay a portion of the cost, based on their income and household size, and New Hope covered the remainder. New Hope provided assistance only for child care provided in state-licensed or county-certified homes or child care centers.
• Job access. Participants who were unemployed or who wanted to change jobs received individualized job search assistance. If they could not find work in the regular job market after an eight-week job search, they could apply for a community service job (CSJ) in a nonprofit organization. These opportunities were also offered to participants who were between jobs or who were employed but not working the 30-hour minimum. The CSJs paid minimum wage and might be either full time or part time.

Participants in New Hope who met the 30-hour work requirement could use any number or combination of program benefits and services, depending on their needs. Benefits were administered by project representatives who could provide advice and information about employment (for example, help in finding a job), child care, or other topics.

Eligibility for earnings supplements, health insurance, and child care assistance lasted for three years. The time limits reflected funding constraints and were not considered integral to the program’s design. Rather, New Hope’s designers assumed that benefits would need to be available as long as individuals met the eligibility criteria, if New Hope were to become ongoing policy.
Intervention Start Date
1994-08-01
Intervention End Date
1998-12-31
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
Parent outcomes: income, earnings, work effort (hours of employment); use of benefits and services; well-being, including stress and material hardship
Child outcomes: education and aspirations, motivation, social behavior and risk-taking, health
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
Individuals were eligible for New Hope if they lived in one of the targeted neighborhoods, were age 18 or older, had earnings of less than 150 percent of the federal poverty level, and were willing and able to work full time. Unlike many programs at the time and still today, New Hope eligibility did not depend on the presence of children or family structure. It was open to men and women who were working or not, on welfare or not, married or unmarried, and living with or without children. The two targeted neighborhoods were selected to provide racial and ethnic diversity and to concentrate the program on inner-city, high-poverty areas.

Program applicants who met New Hope’s eligibility criteria were randomly assigned to one of two groups: a program group that could participate in New Hope or a control group that could not.

Most of the information on New Hope’s operations comes from field research interviews with participants and staff working for the program, a review of program documents, and focus groups held with staff and participants. Material describing the members of the research sample at enrollment, and used to group them for various analyses, came from an enrollment form and a survey of opinions about employment. Each was completed prior to random assignment. A database maintained by the program as its management information system provided data on the use of benefits by all program participants.

A variety of administrative records were used to assess New Hope’s effects. Unemployment insurance earnings records measured quarterly earnings and employment. Public assistance benefit records documented welfare payments, Food Stamps, and Medicaid benefits. Tax records provided information on the receipt of Earned Income Credits.

Follow-up surveys measured receipt of non-New Hope services; many economic outcomes such as hours of work, hourly wages, and the type of jobs held; and all the noneconomic outcomes regarding family functioning, parent well-being, and child development. In addition, the research team conducted an ethnographic study of 46 families for 3 years.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
MDRC algorithm
Randomization Unit
individual
Was the treatment clustered?
No
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
n/a
Sample size: planned number of observations
1,357 adults; subset of 745 participants in study of family and child effects, with a sample of 927 children for most analyses
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
679 individuals control; 678 individuals New Hope
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
Post-Trial
Post Trial Information
Study Withdrawal
Intervention
Is the intervention completed?
No
Is data collection complete?
Yes
Data Collection Completion Date
Final Sample Size: Number of Clusters (Unit of Randomization)
Was attrition correlated with treatment status?
Final Sample Size: Total Number of Observations
Final Sample Size (or Number of Clusters) by Treatment Arms
Data Publication
Data Publication
Is public data available?
No

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Program Files
Program Files
No
Reports, Papers & Other Materials
Relevant Paper(s)
Abstract
Conceived of in the late 1980s and implemented in 1994 in two inner-city areas in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, New Hope was an innovative program designed to address problems in the low-wage labor market. New Hope provided full-time workers with several benefits: an earnings supplement to raise their income above poverty, low-cost health insurance, and subsidized child care. For those unable to find full-time work, the program offered help in finding a job and referral to a wage-paying community service job when necessary. During the demonstration project, each of these benefits was available for up to three years.

This working paper examines the effects of New Hope on children’s academic achievement and achievement motivation eight years after random assignment (five years after the program ended) by comparing program-group and control-group children. Although New Hope’s effects on academic achievement evident in earlier years had faded by year eight, New Hope increased the extent to which children were making normal school progress and increased their engagement in school.
Citation
Huston, Aletha, Jessica Thornton Walker, Chantelle Dowsett, Amy E. Imes, and Angelica Ware. 2008. Long-Term Effects of New Hope on Children’s Academic Achievement and Achievement Motivation. Working paper. New York: MDRC.
Abstract
Conceived of in the late 1980s and implemented in 1994 in two inner-city areas in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, New Hope was an innovative program designed to address problems in the low-wage labor market. New Hope provided full-time workers with several benefits: an earnings supplement to raise their income above poverty, low-cost health insurance, and subsidized child care. For those unable to find full-time work, the program offered help in finding a job and referral to a wage-paying community service job when necessary. During the demonstration project, each of these benefits was available for up to three years.

This working paper focuses on New Hope’s impacts on adolescents’ future orientation (i.e., attitudes and expectancies about work, involvement in employment and career preparation activities) and employment experiences (e.g., duration and intensity of employment) eight years after random assignment. Interest in these outcomes is partly an outgrowth of New Hope’s earlier effects on child functioning. The findings show that New Hope reduced adolescents’ cynical attitudes about work and increased the extent to which they were involved in employment and career preparation activities.
Citation
McLoyd, Vonnie, Rachel Kaplan, and Kelly M. Purtell. 2008. New Hope’s Effects on Children’s Future Orientation and Employment Experiences. Working paper. New York: MDRC.
Abstract
Conceived of in the late 1980s and implemented in 1994 in two inner-city areas in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, New Hope was an innovative program designed to address problems in the low-wage labor market. New Hope provided full-time workers with several benefits: an earnings supplement to raise their income above poverty, low-cost health insurance, and subsidized child care. For those unable to find full-time work, the program offered help in finding a job and referral to a wage-paying community service job when necessary. During the demonstration project, each of these benefits was available for up to three years.

This working paper examines children’s social behavior, parent-child relationships, and participation in out-of-school activities at the eight-year follow up of the New Hope Project (five years after the program ended) by comparing program-group and control-group children. The findings show that New Hope continued to increase children’s positive social behavior, as reported by their parents, through year eight, and continued to increase the amount of time children spend in structured out-of-school activities.
Citation
Huston, Aletha, Anjali E. Gupta, Alison C. Bentley, Chantelle Dowsett, Angelica Ware, and Sylvia R. Epps. 2008. New Hope’s Effects on Social Behavior, Parenting, and Activities at Eight Years. Working paper. New York: MDRC.
Abstract
Conceived of in the late 1980s and implemented in 1994 in two inner-city areas in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, New Hope was an innovative program designed to address problems in the low-wage labor market. New Hope provided full-time workers with several benefits: an earnings supplement to raise their income above poverty, low-cost health insurance, and subsidized child care. For those unable to find full-time work, the program offered help in finding a job and referral to a wage-paying community service job when necessary. During the demonstration project, each of these benefits was available for up to three years.

This working paper takes a longer-run look at New Hope’s impacts on employment and earnings, as well as on family income and poverty, up to eight years beyond the point of random assignment. The findings show that the program’s effects on poverty that were evident at year five for the full sample did not persist to year eight. However, effects on employment and earnings for a moderately disadvantaged group remained large and statistically significant through year eight.
Citation
Duncan, Greg, Cynthia Miller, Amy Classens, Mimi Engel, Heather Hill, and Constance Lindsay. 2008. New Hope’s Eight-Year Impacts on Employment and Family Income. Working paper. New York: MDRC.
Abstract
Conceived of in the late 1980s and implemented in 1994 in two inner-city areas in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, New Hope was an innovative program designed to address problems in the low-wage labor market. Based on the simple premise that people who work full time should not be poor, New Hope provided full-time workers with several benefits: an earnings supplement to raise their income above poverty, low-cost health insurance, and subsidized child care. For those unable to find full-time work, the program offered help in finding a job and referral to a wage-paying community service job when necessary. During the demonstration project, each of these benefits was available for up to three years.

New Hope’s designers expected that its combination of benefits and services would have the direct effects of increasing parents’ employment and income and their use of health insurance and licensed child care. These effects, in turn, might influence the well-being of these adults and their families. MDRC, along with researchers from the University of Texas at Austin, UCLA, Northwestern University, and the University of North Carolina, examined New Hope’s effects in a large-scale random assignment study. This report, the final one in a series, summarizes the program’s implementation and effects over eight years — the first three years while the program operated and five years after it had ended. The findings show that work supports can have a range of positive effects on low-income families and their children. Although the economic effects on employment and income lasted for most families only during the three years in which New Hope operated, some effects on children lasted into the longer term:
-- Employment, income, and parents’ well-being. Adults in the New Hope program were more likely to work than their control group counterparts, and the combination of earnings supplements and the Earned Income Tax Credit also resulted in higher incomes. Less consistently, New Hope also had some effects on parents’ well-being. Most of these effects did not last beyond the three years that the program operated — except for a subgroup of individuals facing moderate barriers to work, for whom New Hope increased employment, earnings, and income through Year 8.
-- Children’s environments. New Hope affected children’s environments by increasing parents’ use of center-based child care — an effect that persisted through Year 5, or two years after New Hope child care subsidies had ended. By Year 5 and lasting into Year 8, New Hope led children and youth to spend more time in structured, supervised out-of-school activities.
-- Children’s development. Positive effects on children’s academic performance and test scores were evident at the two- and five-year marks. By Year 8, effects on performance had faded, and new effects had emerged. New Hope children reported being more engaged in school than control group children, and their parents were less likely than control group parents to report that their children had repeated a grade, received poor grades, or been placed in special education. New Hope also improved children’s positive social behavior, effects that lasted through Year 8. At the eight-year point, New Hope adolescents were less likely than their control group counterparts to have cynical attitudes about work and were more likely to have taken part in employment and career preparation activities.
Citation
Miller, Cynthia, Aletha Huston, Greg Duncan, Vonnie McLoyd, and Thomas S. Weisner 2008. New Hope for the Working Poor: Effects After Eight Years for Families and Children. New York: MDRC.
REPORTS & OTHER MATERIALS