Effects of Welfare Reform on Educational Acquisition of Young Adult Women
AbstractEducation beyond traditional ages for schooling is an important source of human capital acquisition among adult women. Welfare reform, which began in the early 1990s and culminated in the passage of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act in 1996, has promoted work rather than educational acquisition for this group. Exploiting variation in welfare reform across states and over time and using relevant comparison groups, we undertake a comprehensive study of the effects of welfare reform on adult women’s educational acquisition. We first estimate effects of welfare reform on high school drop-out of teenage girls, both to improve on past research on this issue and to explore compositional changes that may be relevant for our primary analyses of the effects of welfare reform on the educational acquisition of adult women. We conduct numerous specification checks and explore the mediating role of work. We find robust and convincing evidence that welfare reform significantly decreased the probability of college enrollment among adult women, by at least 20 %. It also appears to have decreased the probability of high school enrollment on the same order of magnitude. These results suggest that the gains from welfare reform in terms of increases in employment and reductions in caseloads have come at a cost in terms of lower educational attainment among adult women at risk for relying on welfare.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 14466.
Date of creation: Nov 2008
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Find related papers by JEL classification:
- H52 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Education
- H53 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Welfare Programs
- I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
- I28 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Government Policy
- I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs
- J18 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Public Policy
- J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2008-11-11 (All new papers)
- NEP-EDU-2008-11-11 (Education)
- NEP-HRM-2008-11-11 (Human Capital & Human Resource Management)
- NEP-LAB-2008-11-11 (Labour Economics)
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