Examining the Structural Determinants of Poverty, an Annotated Bibliography

About the APA Committee on Socioeconomic Status

The mission of the Committee on Socioeconomic Status (CSES) shall be to further the major purpose of the American Psychological Association — “to advance psychology as a science and a profession and as a means of promoting health, education and human welfare” — by ensuring that issues of socioeconomic status receive the full attention of the association. The committee will identify and act as a catalyst in the association’s efforts to address issues of SES and promote appropriate attention to SES in psychological research and practice. In this regard, the committee shall:

(a) collect information and documentation concerning SES;

(b) promote scientific understanding of the roles of poverty and SES in health, education and human welfare;

(c) develop approaches to the application of psychology that take into account the effects of SES on psychological development and well-being; and

(d) advocate for social policy that will alleviate or reduce the disparities between SES groups.

The Office on Socioeconomic Status is pleased to provide this annotated bibliography of resources that provide information about the structural determinants of poverty in the United States. The annotation for each reference listed in the bibliography provides a brief summary of the item’s contents. The bibliography contains listings of relevant books, research and technical reports, and scholarly literature. Given the large amount of literature on this topic, this bibliography provides only a purposeful sampling. In searching for materials to include in the bibliography, researchers carried out keyword searches of several major social science databases and of websites of federally funded poverty research centers in the U.S. The research centers examined included those housed at the University of California, Davis (UC Davis Center for Poverty Research); the University of Kansas (UK Center for Poverty Research), the University of Wisconsin (Institute for Research on Poverty); and Stanford University (Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality). The search intentionally excluded materials published prior to the 1996 Welfare Reform ACT, as that landmark legislation clearly altered the structural landscape in this country.

Certain acronyms are used throughout the bibliography. They are:

  • DI: Disability Insurance
  • EITC: Earned Income Tax Credit
  • PRWORA: The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (typically referred to as “The 1996 Welfare Reform Act”)
  • SNAP: Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (typically known as the Food Stamp Program: FSP)
  • SSI: Supplemental Security Income
  • TANF: Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (successor to Aid to Families With Dependent Children: AFDC)
  • UI: Unemployment Insurance
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