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The Impact of Welfare Reform on Leaver Characteristics, Employment and Recidivism

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Author Info

  • Carrington, William J.

    ()
    (Bates White)

  • Mueser, Peter R.

    ()
    (University of Missouri-Columbia)

  • Troske, Kenneth

    ()
    (University of Kentucky)

Abstract

Welfare reform has transformed the U.S. cash assistance program for single parents and their children. Although there remains substantial uncertainty about the importance of reform in producing the subsequent decline in the welfare caseload, even less is known about its impact on the experiences and well being of former welfare recipients. The analysis here focuses on the characteristics and employment of welfare recipients in the state of Missouri over the period 1990-1999. We find that there has been little change in the observable characteristics of those entering, on, or leaving welfare, but there has been a dramatic growth in the importance of employment for all these groups. We also examine the dynamics of employment and welfare recidivism comparing cohorts of leavers prior to and after welfare reform. We find that after welfare reform leavers are much more likely to be working, have higher total earnings, work for employers with similar characteristics, and are less likely to return to welfare. These results suggest that welfare reform has not materially harmed welfare recipients.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 561.

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Length: 57 pages
Date of creation: Aug 2002
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp561

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Keywords: welfare reform; employment dynamics;

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References

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  1. Hilary Williamson Hoynes, 1996. "Work, Welfare, and Family Structure: What Have We Learned?," NBER Working Papers 5644, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Carolyn J. Heinrich & Peter R. Mueser & Kenneth R. Troske, 2005. "Welfare to Temporary Work: Implications for Labor Market Outcomes," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 87(1), pages 154-173, February.
  3. Rebecca M. Blank & Patricia Ruggles, 1996. "When Do Women Use Aid to Families with Dependent Children and Food Stamps? The Dynamics of Eligibility Versus Participation," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 31(1), pages 57-89.
  4. Bruce D. Meyer & Dan T. Rosenbaum, 1998. "Welfare, the Earned Income Tax Credit, and the Labor Supply of Single Mothers," JCPR Working Papers 32, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
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  7. Julia Lane & David Stevens, 2001. "Welfare-to-Work Outcomes: The Role of the Employer," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 67(4), pages 1010-1021, April.
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  9. Hilary Williamson Hoynes, 2001. "How are families who left welfare doing over time? a comparison of two cohorts of welfare leavers - commentary," Economic Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue Sep, pages 21-22.
  10. Rebecca M. Blank, 2002. "Evaluating Welfare Reform in the United States," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(4), pages 1105-1166, December.
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  12. Kenneth R. Troske, 1998. "Evidence on the Employer Size-Wage Premium From Worker-Establishment Matched Data," Labor and Demography 9807001, EconWPA.
  13. Blank, Rebecca M & Ruggles, Patricia, 1994. "Short-Term Recidivism among Public-Assistance Recipients," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(2), pages 49-53, May.
  14. Blank, Rebecca M., 1989. "Analyzing the length of welfare spells," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(3), pages 245-273, August.
  15. David H. Autor, 2003. "Outsourcing at Will: The Contribution of Unjust Dismissal Doctrine to the Growth of Employment Outsourcing," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(1), pages 1-42, January.
  16. Pamela Loprest, 2001. "How are families who left welfare doing over time? a comparison of two cohorts of welfare leavers," Economic Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue Sep, pages 9-19.
  17. V. J. Hotz & J. K. Scholz, . "Measuring Employment and Income for Low-Income Populations with Administrative and Survey Data," Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers 1224-01, University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty.
  18. Lane, Julia & Stevens, David, 1995. "Family, Work, and Welfare History: Work and Welfare Outcomes," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(2), pages 266-70, May.
  19. Susan E. Mayer, 2000. "Why Welfare Caseloads Fluctuate: A Review of Research on AFDC, SSI, and the Food Stamps Program," JCPR Working Papers 166, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
  20. Dave M. O'Neill & June Ellenoff O'Neill, 1997. "Lessons for Welfare Reform: An Analysis of the AFDC Caseload and Past Welfare-to-Work Programs," Books from Upjohn Press, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, number lwr.
  21. Timothy J. Bartik, 1997. "Short-Term Employment Persistence for Welfare Recipients: The "Effects" of Wages, Industry, Occupation and Firm," Upjohn Working Papers and Journal Articles 97-46, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.
  22. Krueger, Alan B & Summers, Lawrence H, 1988. "Efficiency Wages and the Inter-industry Wage Structure," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(2), pages 259-93, March.
  23. Moffitt, Robert, 1992. "Incentive Effects of the U.S. Welfare System: A Review," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 30(1), pages 1-61, March.
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Cited by:
  1. Mueser, Peter R. & Stevens, David W. & Troske, Kenneth, 2007. "The Impact of Welfare Reform on Leaver Characteristics, Employment and Recidivism: An Analysis of Maryland and Missouri," IZA Discussion Papers 3131, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Chris Herbst & David Stevens, 2010. "The Impact of Local Labor Market Conditions on Work and Welfare Decisions: Revisiting an Old Question Using New Data," Population Research and Policy Review, Springer, vol. 29(4), pages 453-479, August.
  3. Jill Marie Gunderson & Julie L. Hotchkiss, 2006. "Welfare recipiency, job separation outcomes, and postseparation earnings: insight from linked personnel and state administrative data," Working Paper 2006-07, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
  4. Peter R. Mueser & Lael R. Keiser & Carolyn J. Heinrich, 2003. "Race, Bureaucratic Discretion, and the Implementation of Welfare Reform," Working Papers 0307, Department of Economics, University of Missouri.

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