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The Transformation in Who is Expected to Work in the United States and How it Changed the Lives of Single Mothers and People with Disabilities

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Author Info

  • Richard V. Burkhauser

    (Cornell University)

  • Mary C. Daly

    (Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco)

  • Jeff Larrimore

    (Cornell University)

  • Joyce Kwok

    (Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco)

Abstract

In the 1990s, social expectations of single mothers shifted towards the notion that most should, could, and would work, if given the proper incentives. This shift in expectations culminated in the passage of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act in 1996, commonly known as welfare reform. As a result, ADFC/TANF caseloads fell along with cash transfers to single mothers who did not work. A decade later the earnings and household income of single mothers are significantly higher and moving more in synch with the U.S. economy. In stark contrast and despite espoused goals to the contrary, public policies toward working age men and women with disabilities have remained imbued with the notion that most cannot and thus, would not work, no matter what incentives they faced. As a result, SSDI/SSI expenditures and caseloads have increased and the earnings and household income of working age men and women with disabilities have fallen, leaving them even further behind the average working age American than they were a decade ago. Using data from the Current Population Survey we follow the economic well-being and employment of single mothers and working age men and women with disabilities over the past two major United States business cycles (1982-1993 and 1993-2004) and show that despite the dramatic decline in AFDC/TANF funding, single mothers’ economic well-being, labor earnings and employment all have risen substantially. In contrast, despite the dramatic increase in SSDI/SSI funding, the economic wellbeing of working age men and women with disabilities remained stagnant, as their labor earnings and employment plummeted.

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File URL: http://www.mrrc.isr.umich.edu/publications/Papers/pdf/wp187.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center in its series Working Papers with number wp187.

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Length: 49 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:mrr:papers:wp187

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References

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  1. Robert Moffitt, 2002. "The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program," NBER Working Papers 8749, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Daron Acemoglu & Joshua Angrist, 1998. "Consequences of Employment Protection? The Case of the Americans with Disabilities Act," NBER Working Papers 6670, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Anderson, Patricia M & Meyer, Bruce D, 1993. "Unemployment Insurance in the United States: Layoff Incentives and Cross Subsidies," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 11(1), pages S70-95, January.
  4. David H. Autor & Mark G. Duggan, 2006. "The Growth in the Social Security Disability Rolls: A Fiscal Crisis Unfolding," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(3), pages 71-96, Summer.
  5. Mary C. Daly & Richard V. Burkhauser, 2002. "The Supplemental Security Income program," Working Paper Series 2002-20, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  6. Richard V. Burkhauser & Kenneth A. Couch & Andrew Houtenville & Ludmila Rovba, 2004. "Income Inequality in the 1990s: Re-Forging a Lost Relationship?," Working papers 2004-11, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.
  7. Richard V. Burkhauser & Mary C. Daly & Philip R. de Jong, 2008. "Curing the Dutch Disease: Lessons for United States Disability Policy," Working Papers wp188, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
  8. repec:crr:crrwps:2002-07 is not listed on IDEAS
  9. Richard V. Burkhauser & Takashi Oshio & Ludmila Rovba, 2007. "How the Distribution of After-Tax Income Changed over the 1990s Business Cycle: A Comparison of the United States, Great Britain, Germany and Japan," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 35, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
  10. Rebecca London, 1998. "Trends in single mothers’ living arrangements from 1970 to 1995: Correcting the Current Population Survey," Demography, Springer, vol. 35(1), pages 125-131, February.
  11. 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.
  12. Bound, John & Burkhauser, Richard V., 1999. "Economic analysis of transfer programs targeted on people with disabilities," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 51, pages 3417-3528 Elsevier.
  13. Burkhauser, Richard V, et al, 1999. "Testing the Significance of Income Distribution Changes over the 1980s Business Cycle: A Cross-National Comparison," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 14(3), pages 253-72, May-June.
  14. Krueger, Alan B. & Meyer, Bruce D., 2002. "Labor supply effects of social insurance," Handbook of Public Economics, in: A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), Handbook of Public Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 33, pages 2327-2392 Elsevier.
  15. Julie L. Hotchkiss, 2004. "A Closer Look at the Employment Impact of the Americans with Disabilities Act," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(4).
  16. Richard Burkhauser & Mary Daly & Andrew Houtenville & Nigar Nargis, 2002. "Self-reported work-limitation data: What they can and cannot tell US," Demography, Springer, vol. 39(3), pages 541-555, August.
  17. David C. Stapleton & Richard V. Burkhauser (ed.), 2003. "The Decline in Employment of People with Disabilities: A Policy Puzzle," Books from Upjohn Press, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, number depd.
  18. John Bound & Timothy Waidmann, 2000. "Accounting for Recent Declines in Employment Rates among the Working-Aged Disabled," NBER Working Papers 7975, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Jeff Larrimore & Richard Burkhauser & Shuaizhang Feng & Laura Zayatz, 2008. "Consistent Cell Means for Topcoded Incomes in the Public Use March CPS (1976-2007)," Working Papers 08-06, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
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