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Preliminary Assessment of the Impact Evaluation Strategy

Preliminary Assessment of the Impact Evaluation Strategy Although the impact evaluation was still in progress when this article was written and final judgments about its methodology could not yet be made, it was possible at the time to offer a brief preliminary assessment using data from the baseline survey and UI wage records. Evidence from the baseline survey Perhaps the single most important key to the success of the Jobs-Plus impact estimates is the initial comparability of the Jobs-Plus and comparison samples. One 40 THE ANNALS OF THE AMERICAN ACADEMY © 2005 American Academy of Political & Social Science. All rights reserved. Not for commercial use or unauthorized distribution. Downloaded from http://ann.sagepub.com at INDIANA UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA on February 25, 2008 important source of information to assess this comparability is the baseline survey conducted at all of the housing developments in our sample. Early tabulations of these findings were quite promising, indicating that the Jobs-Plus and comparison samples are similar in many important ways.25 [M]easuring Jobs-Plus impacts from the individual perspective addresses the question, “How did the program affect the future experiences of a specific group of people who were living in a program development at a particular time?” Table 4 illustrates this similarity for the overall pooled sample of sites. Given the focus of Jobs-Plus on promoting resident employment, the table lists comparisons in terms of employment-related baseline characteristics. On average, it appears that the Jobs-Plus group and comparison group are quite comparable in terms of baseline characteristics related to their likely future labor market success. The percentage of sample members that were employed full-time when the baseline survey was administered is identical for the two groups (43 percent), the percentage of the two groups whose household had received Food Stamps during the previous twelve months was almost identical (67 versus 66 percent), and the percentage whose household had received welfare during the past twelve months was very similar (51 to 49 percent). In terms of education level, a key factor related to future job market success, the two groups look quite similar (40 versus 42 percent had a high school diploma).