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

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  • 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. 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.
  2. Kenneth R. Troske, 1998. "Evidence on the Employer Size-Wage Premium From Worker-Establishment Matched Data," Labor and Demography 9807001, EconWPA.
  3. 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, December.
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  7. 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.
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  9. Hilary Williamson Hoynes, 1996. "Work, Welfare, and Family Structure: What Have We Learned?," NBER Working Papers 5644, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  12. Hilary Williamson Hoynes, 2000. "Local Labor Markets And Welfare Spells: Do Demand Conditions Matter?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 82(3), pages 351-368, August.
  13. 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.
  14. 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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  17. 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.
  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. 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.
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  21. 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.
  22. 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.
  23. David C. Ribar, 2005. "Transitions from Welfare and the Employment Prospects of Low-Skill Workers," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 71(3), pages 514-533, January.
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Cited by:
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  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. 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).

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