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Linking program implementation and effectiveness: Lessons from a pooled sample of welfare-to-work experiments


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  • Howard S. Bloom


  • Carolyn J. Hill

    (Georgetown Public Policy Institute, Georgetown University)

  • James A. Riccio


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    This paper addresses the question: How does implementation influence the effectiveness of mandatory welfare-to-work programs? Data from three large-scale, multi-site random assignment experiments were pooled; quantitative measures of program implementation were constructed; and multilevel statistical modeling was used to examine the relationship between program implementation and effects on short-term client earnings. Individual-level data were analyzed for 69,399 sample members and group-level implementation data were analyzed for 59 local programs. Findings indicate that, other things being equal, earnings effects are increased by: an emphasis on quick client employment, an emphasis on personalized client attention, staff caseloads that do not get too large, and limited use of basic education. Findings also show that mandatory welfare-to-work programs can be effective for many types of people, and that focusing on clients who are especially job-ready (or not) does not have a consistent influence on a program's effectiveness. © 2003 by the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. in its journal Journal of Policy Analysis and Management.

    Volume (Year): 22 (2003)
    Issue (Month): 4 ()
    Pages: 551-575

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    Handle: RePEc:wly:jpamgt:v:22:y:2003:i:4:p:551-575

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    1. Mary Jo Bane, 1989. "Welfare reform and mandatory versus voluntary work: Policy issue or management problem?," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 8(2), pages 285-289.
    2. Lawrence M. Mead, 1983. "Expectations And Welfare Work: Win In New York City," Review of Policy Research, Policy Studies Organization, Policy Studies Organization, vol. 2(4), pages 648-662, 05.
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    Cited by:
    1. Behncke, Stefanie & Frölich, Markus & Lechner, Michael, 2007. "Unemployed and Their Caseworkers: Should They Be Friends or Foes?," IZA Discussion Papers 3149, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. Jochen Michaelis & Alexander Spermann, 2009. "Geringqualifizierte Arbeit, Marktlöhne und Sozialpolitik: Konzepte für Deutschland," MAGKS Papers on Economics, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung) 200920, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung).
    3. McBeath, Bowen & Collins-Camargo, Crystal & Chuang, Emmeline & Wells, Rebecca & Bunger, Alicia C. & Jolles, Mónica Pérez, 2014. "New directions for research on the organizational and institutional context of child welfare agencies: Introduction to the symposium on “The Organizational and Managerial Context of Private Child We," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 38(C), pages 83-92.
    4. Margaretha Buurman & Robert Dur, 2012. "Incentives and the Sorting of Altruistic Agents into Street-Level Bureaucracies," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 114(4), pages 1318-1345, December.
    5. Ng, Irene Y.H. & Ho, Kong Weng & Nesamani, Tharmalingam & Lee, Alex & Liang, Ngiam Tee, 2012. "Designing and implementing an evaluation of a national work support program," Evaluation and Program Planning, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 78-87.
    6. Michael White, 2004. "Effective Job Search Practice in the UK's Mandatory Welfare-to-Work Programme for Youth," PSI Research Discussion Series, Policy Studies Institute, UK 17, Policy Studies Institute, UK.
    7. Oscar Mitnik, 2008. "How do Training Programs Assign Participants to Training? Characterizing the Assignment Rules of Government Agencies for Welfare-to-Work Programs in California," Working Papers, University of Miami, Department of Economics 0907, University of Miami, Department of Economics.
    8. McBeath, Bowen & Meezan, William, 2009. "Interorganizational disparities in foster care service provision," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 31(5), pages 513-525, May.
    9. Geoffrey L. Wallace & Robert Haveman, 2007. "The implications of differences between employer and worker employment|earnings reports for policy evaluation," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 26(4), pages 737-754.
    10. Stephen Bell & Daniel Gubits & David Stapleton & David Wittenburg & Michelle Derr & Arkadipta Ghosh & Sara Ansell & David Greenberg, 2011. "BOND Implementation and Evaluation: Evaluation Analysis Plan," Mathematica Policy Research Reports, Mathematica Policy Research 7520, Mathematica Policy Research.


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