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Baseline experience from the individual perspective

As noted earlier, measuring 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?” This requires observing the experience of the same persons over time, regardless of where they live. Thus, to estimate impacts on employment and earnings from the individual perspective requires choosing a cohort of residents to track backward and forward in time, acquiring their quarterly UI wage records to do so, constructing their baseline and follow-up histories, measuring the follow-up deviation from their baseline trend, and comparing this deviation for the Jobs-Plus and comparison samples. For our current analysis, we chose a cohort of individuals who were (1) recorded by their local housing authority as living in a Jobs-Plus or comparison development during October 1998, (2) not identified by housing authority records as being disabled, and (3) between twenty-one and sixty-one years of age in October 1998. This 1998 cohort was chosen because Jobs-Plus began program operations (in varying degrees) at each site during the middle to latter part of the year. Disabled persons were excluded from the analysis because their employment problems are 42 THE ANNALS OF THE AMERICAN ACADEMY TABLE 4 SELECTED MEAN BASELINE CHARACTERISTICS OF HEADS OF HOUSEHOLD FOR THE POOLED SAMPLE OF JOBS-PLUS AND COMPARISON DEVELOPMENTS (IN PERCENTAGES) Jobs-Plus Comparison Characteristic Developments Developments Currently employed full-time (thirty-plus hours per week) Yes 43 43 No 57 57 Household received Food Stamps during past twelve months Yes 67 66 No 32 33 Household received welfare during past twelve months Yes 51 49 No 49 51 Educational attainment GED certificate 13 15 High school diploma 40 42 Neither 48 43 SOURCE: MDRC calculations from baseline survey data for each housing development that was randomly assigned at the six sites in the Jobs-Plus sample (including Seattle). NOTE: Distributions may not total 100 percent because of rounding. © 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 often far more extreme than those of nondisabled persons and they are not included in the main target group for Jobs-Plus. Persons older than sixty-one years of age were excluded because they would reach retirement age soon after the follow-up period for the analysis began. Last, persons younger than twenty-one years of age were excluded because they were teenagers during most of the Jobs-Plus baseline period, and thus, much of their employment history is not relevant to their future labor market success.