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Welfare and the Well-Being of Children: The Relative Effectiveness of Cash and In-Kind Transfers

In: Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 8

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  • Janet Currie

Abstract

Cash transfers to families with children are increasingly being restricted to parents who work, while families of non-working parents are receiving a progressively larger share of their benefits in kind. This paper provides an evaluation of the empirical evidence regarding the effects of in-kind and cash transfer program on the children who are their intended beneficiaries. A distinction is made between in- kind transfer programs, such as the Food Stamp Program, that provide transfers to families that are earmarked for certain purposes, and programs such as Medicaid that provide specific services directly to children. Although the evidence is incomplete, it suggests that in- kind programs have stronger effects on children than cash transfers, and that programs that target specific benefits directly to children have the largest positive effects.

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This chapter was published in:

  • James M. Poterba, 1994. "Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 8," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number pote94-3.
    This item is provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Chapters with number 10883.

    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberch:10883

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    1. Barbara H. Kehrer & Charles M. Wolin, 1979. "Impact of Income Maintenance on Low Birth Weight: Evidence from the Gary Experiment," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 14(4), pages 434-462.
    2. Rebecca M. Blank & Patricia Ruggles, 1993. "When Do Women Use AFDC & Food Stamps? The Dynamics of Eligibility vs. Participation," NBER Working Papers 4429, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Duncan Thomas, 1994. "Like Father, like Son; Like Mother, like Daughter: Parental Resources and Child Height," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 29(4), pages 950-988.
    4. Currie, Janet & Cole, Nancy, 1993. "Welfare and Child Health: The Link between AFDC Participation and Birth Weight," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(4), pages 971-85, September.
    5. Rebecca A. Maynard & Richard J. Murnane, 1979. "The Effects of a Negative Income Tax on School Performance: Results of an Experiment," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 14(4), pages 463-476.
    6. Angrist, Joshua D, 1990. "Lifetime Earnings and the Vietnam Era Draft Lottery: Evidence from Social Security Administrative Records," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(3), pages 313-36, June.
    7. Janet Currie & Duncan Thomas, 1993. "Does Head Start Make a Difference?," NBER Working Papers 4406, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Sonalde Desai & P. Chase-Lansdale & Robert Michael, 1989. "Mother or Market? Effects of Maternal Employment on the Intellectual Ability of 4-Year-Old Children," Demography, Springer, vol. 26(4), pages 545-561, November.
    9. Janet Currie & Duncan Thomas, 1993. "Medicaid and Medical Care for Children," NBER Working Papers 4284, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Philip K. Robins, 1985. "A Comparison of the Labor Supply Findings from the Four Negative Income Tax Experiments," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 20(4), pages 567-582.
    11. Desai, S. & Chase-Lansdale, P.L. & Michael, R.T., 1988. "Mother Or Market? Effects Of Maternal Employment On Cognitive Development Of Four-Year-Old Children," University of Chicago - Economics Research Center 88-11, Chicago - Economics Research Center.
    12. Sheldon Danziger & Jonathan Stern, 1990. "Causes and Consequences of Child Poverty in the United States," Innocenti Occasional Papers, Economic Policy Series iopeps90/35, UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre.
    13. Venti, Steven F, 1984. "The Effects of Income Maintenance on Work, Schooling, and Non-Market Activities of Youth," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 66(1), pages 16-25, February.
    14. Francine D. Blau & Adam J. Grossberg, 1990. "Maternal Labor Supply and Children's Cognitive Development," NBER Working Papers 3536, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    15. Gottschalk, Peter, 1990. "AFDC Participation across Generations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(2), pages 367-71, May.
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    Cited by:
    1. Levine, Phillip B. & Zimmerman, David J., 2005. "Children's welfare exposure and subsequent development," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(1), pages 31-56, January.
    2. Laura Blow & Ian Walker & Yu Zhu, 2012. "Who Benefits From Child Benefit?," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 50(1), pages 153-170, 01.
    3. Shelley A. Phipps & Peter S. Burton, 1996. "Collective Models of Family Behaviour: Implications for Economic Policy," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 22(2), pages 129-143, June.
    4. Tim Callan & Claire Keane, 2008. "Non-Cash Benefits and the Distribution of Economic Welfare," Papers WP245, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI).
    5. Datta Gupta, Nabanita & Simonsen, Marianne, 2007. "Non-Cognitive Child Outcomes and Universal High Quality Child Care," IZA Discussion Papers 3188, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    6. Nabanita Datta Gupta & Marianne Simonsen, 2010. "Effects of Universal Child Care Participation on Pre-teen Skills and Risky Behaviors," Economics Working Papers 2010-07, School of Economics and Management, University of Aarhus.

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