Fighting Poverty through Incentives and Work Mandates for Young Men

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In this policy brief featured in a recent issue of the journal The Future of Children, Brookings senior fellow Ron Haskins examines two sets of public policies - wage subsidies and work requirements - that hold promise for helping young men increase their employment and earnings. Haskins says these policies could alleviate many social problems associated with young men, including crime, delinquency, dropping out of school, unemployment, nonmarital births and poverty.

The wage subsidies would be in the form of earned income tax credits for which all low-income earners would be eligible - in effect, turning a $6-per-hour job into a $7.50-per-hour job. Mandatory work programs would focus on low-skilled young men in default on child support payments and parolees who don't find work. Attendance and performance would be monitored, while counselors would help workers claim public benefits for which they might be eligible. The programs would cost an estimated $33 billion and $5 billion, respectively.

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