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Abstracts from Volume 32, Number 2
(June, 2005)

Distribution of the Federal Tax Burden, Share of After-Tax Income, and After-Tax Income by Presidential Administration and Household Type, 1981-2000
Richard K. Caputo
Findings of this study show that the lowest- and middle-income households overall and those with children had lower total effective Federal tax rates during the Clinton administration than during the Reagan and G.H. Bush administrations. Concomitantly, the top one percent and highest income quintile households overall, those with children, and those headed by an elderly person age 65 or older without children had higher total effective Federal tax rates during the Clinton administration. Nearly every category of household type and income level measured in this study had more after-
Federal-tax income during the Clinton administration than either the Reagan or G.H. Bush administrations. The study also found that the shares of after-Federal-tax income were equitable across the three presidential administrations for the lowest-income quintile households with children, while the share of after-Federal-tax income for middle-income quintile households with children actually declined during the Clinton administration. The study concludes by noting that where it counts most for individuals and families, namely in the amount of after-tax money available to households,
there were no differences by presidential administration during the post-Reagan era among low-income households and where differences were found for middle-income households, they were opposite what more liberal or less centrist-left Democrats would have hoped for.

Family Structure Effects on Parenting Stress and Practices in the African-American Family
Daphne S. Cain & Terri Combs-Orme
The predominant approach to African-American parenting research focuses on disadvantages associated with single parenthood to the exclusion of other issues. The current research suggests that this does not represent the diversity in family structure configurations among African-American families, nor does it give voice to the parenting resilience of single mothers. We argue that rather than marital status or family configuration, more attention needs to be given to the inadequacy of resources for this population. In the current study, we examined the parenting of infants by African-American mothers and found that mothers’ marital status and family
configuration did not affect parenting stress or practices. This suggests, then, that single mothers parent as well as their married, partnered, and multigenerational counterparts. It seems that the economic status and parenting perceptions of mothers contributed more to parenting stress than did marital status or family structure. Our study, then, challenges the accepted wisdom in our political and popular culture that has insisted upon the centrality of the nuclear family to all aspects of familial and even national health. Instead, we have shown that a true commitment to strong families and healthy children begins with a focus on the debilitating effects
of poverty in the African-American community.

The Poverty of Unattached Senior Women and the Canadian Retirement Income
System: A Matter of Blame or Contradiction?

Amber Gazso
Structural and financial inadequacy of Canada’s retirement income system, especially with respect to income support benefits (i.e. Old Age Security), are often identified as one major reason unattached senior women experience poverty. While it may be compelling to blame low benefit levels and changing eligibility requirements, particularly because ‘crisis’ policy discourses have influenced questionable restructuring over time (i.e. the clawback), this paper argues that this is too simplistic of an account of the relationship between these women’s poverty and the retirement income system. Other broad social-structural factors are at play in women’s lives
that have the potential to disentitle their access to income security in old age. Specifically, the mismatch between women’s economic situations over the life course and their claims to pension or retirement savings income is presented as an important reason for why many women are still poor despite policy provisions for their retirement.

Aging and Family Policy: A Sociological Excursion
Jason L. Powell
The contemporary focus on family policy and old age has become increasingly
important in social discourses on aging both within the discipline of Sociology and social policy practices of welfare institutions that attempt to define later life. Using the United Kingdom as a case study, sheds light on wider current trends associated with aging in United States, Canada, Europe and Australia. Social welfare is a pivotal domain where social discourses on aging have become located. Narratives are ‘played
out’ with regard to the raw material supplied by family policy for identity performance of older people. Therefore, grounding developments in ‘narrativity’ provides a sociological framework to assess the changing discourses associated with family policy and older people as advanced through different policy positions.

Gender Poverty Disparity in US Cities: Evidence Exonerating Female-Headed Families
Sara Lichtenwalter
Utilizing data from the 2000 Census, this study examines the impact of family composition, education, and labor force factors on the difference between female and male poverty rates in the 70 largest U.S. cities. A stepwise regression analysis indicates that 41% of the difference between female and male poverty rates can be explained by the percent of women in the three US Bureau of Labor Statistic’s lowest wage occupations. There was no evidence of a unique impact from the percentage of female headed families in each city, or the study’s other independent variables, on the gender poverty gap, with the exception of their contribution through the proportion of females in the lowest wage occupations. This study provides empirical support for the likely ineffectiveness of TANFinitiatives promoting employment and marriage for alleviating female poverty. In addition, the study found important non-random geographic variations in the difference between cities with the highest and lowest gender disparity in poverty rates. Only one of the ten US cities with the highest
rankings in gender poverty disparity is located west of the Mississippi River.

Theories of Urban Poverty and Implications for Public Housing Policy
Alexandra M. Curley
Urban poverty has been the subject of sociological and political debate for more than a century. In this article I examine theories of urban poverty and their place in American housing policy. I first discuss theories that have arisen out of the sociological and policy discourse on urban poverty and the research that supports and challenges these theories. I then review current public housing initiatives and discuss the impact of these theories on current housing policy.

Taking a Juvenile Into Custody: Situational Factors that Influence Police Officers' Decisions
Terrence T. Allen
Situational factors that influence police officers' decisions to take juveniles into custody were investigated. A cross-sectional self administered survey was conducted. Four-hundred and twenty-eight male and female police officers from six police districts in Cleveland Ohio completed and submitted a twenty-five item questionnaire. Using a logistic regression model the study identified: adolescents who disrespect police officers; adolescents who are out late at night; adolescent males; anyone looking suspicious; and the age of the police officer as the most significant predictors. This was an exploratory study that sought to investigate police/juvenile encounters
from a street level situational perspective. The results provided a basis for continued research in this area of inquiry.

For the Children: Accounting for Careers in Child Protective Services
Joan M. Morris
This paper analyzes autobiographical essays from women who work as social service workers in child-protection agencies. Working long hours in relatively low-paying jobs, these women have limited prestige and autonomy and increasingly, come under close scrutiny and public criticism.
They are clearly exploited in terms of the emotional and “mothering” labor they are expected to perform and are held personally accountable for daily decisions that could have dire consequences for the children they serve to protect. This paper is an investigation of how their narratives explain and justify their willingness to continue working in these situations and how their professional identities are defined and defended.

Engendering Citizenship? A Critical Feminist Analysis of Canadian Welfare-to-WorkPolicies and the Employment Experiences of Lone Mothers
Rhonda S. Breitkreuz
Like other liberal-welfare states, Canada, in a climate of balanced budgets and deficit reduction, has been active in developing policies intended to move welfare recipients into employment in order to achieve selfsufficiency.
The purpose of this paper is to employ a critical feminist analysis to examine the extent to which these policies, developed under the ideological umbrella of neo-liberalism, are gender sensitive. Literature on the economic and non-economic impacts of welfare-to-work policies is reviewed to evaluate whetherthese initiatives, while mandating lone-mothers into employment, recognize the gendered nature of work, employment and poverty. Gaps in current research are identified and questions are posed about the implications of welfare-to-work on the citizenship entitlements
of low-income lone mothers.

BOOK REVIEWS
Kids and Media in America.
Donald F. Roberts and Ulla G. Foehr.
Reviewed Allan Brawley.

Coming Home? Refugees, Migrants and Those Who Stayed at Home.
Lynellyn D. Long and Ellen Oxfeld (Eds.).
Reviewed by Miriam Potocky-Tripodi.

Inequality in America: What Role for Human Capital Policies.
James J. Hechman and Alan B. Krueger.
Reviewed by Sondra Beverly.

Developing Practice Guidelines for Social Work Intervention.
Aaron Rosen and Enola K. Proctor (Eds.).
Reviewed by Eric R. Hardiman.

Social Security Programs and Retirement Around the World:
Micro Estimation.
Jonathan Gruber and David A.Wise (Eds.).
Reviewed by John B. Williamson.

Home Bound: Growing Up with a Disability in America.
Cass Irvin.
Reviewed by Elizabeth Lightfoot.

BOOK NOTES
Fatherhood Politics in the United States: Masculinity, Sexuality, Race and Marriage.
Anna Gavanas.

Global Environmentalism and Local Politics: Transnational Advocacy Networks in Brazil, Ecuador, and India.
Maria Guadalupe Moog Rodrigues.

Partnering for Change: Unions and Community Groups Build Coalitions for Economic Justice.
David B. Reynolds (Ed.).

The Mystery of Economic Growth.
Elhanan Helpman.

The Welfare Experiments: Politics and Policy Evaluation.
Robin H. Rogers-Dillon.

 

 

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