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Has Welfare Reform Changed Teenage Behaviors?

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  • Robert Kaestner
  • June O'Neill

Abstract

We use data from the National Longitudinal Surveys of Youth 1979 and 1997 cohorts to compare welfare use, fertility rates, educational attainment, and marriage rates among teenage women in the years before and the years immediately following welfare reform. Our first objective is to document differences between these cohorts in welfare use and outcomes and behaviors correlated with 'entry' into welfare, and with future economic and social well-being. Our second objective is to investigate the causal role of welfare reform in behavioral change. We find significant differences between cohorts in welfare use and in outcomes related to welfare use. Further, difference-in-differences estimates suggest that welfare reform has been associated with reduced welfare receipt, reduced fertility, reduced marriage, and lower school drop-out among young women who, because of a disadvantaged family background, are at high risk of welfare receipt (relative to those at lower risk). Finally, in the post-welfare reform era, teenage mothers are less likely to receive welfare and are more likely to live with a spouse or to live with at least one parent than in the pre-reform era. Establishing definitively that welfare reform is responsible for these changes among teenagers will require further investigation.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 8932.

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Date of creation: May 2002
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Publication status: published as Kaestner, Robert, Sanders Korenman and June O’Neill. “Has Welfare Reform Changed Teenage Behaviors?” Journal of Policy Analysis and Management 22, 2 (2003): 225-248.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:8932

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References

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  1. Meyer, Bruce D. & Rosenbaum, Dan T., 2000. "Making Single Mothers Work: Recent Tax and Welfare Policy and its Effects," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 53(n. 4), pages 1027-62, December.
  2. Robert A. Moffitt, 1999. "The Effect of Pre-PRWORA Waivers on AFDC Caseloads and Female Earnings, Income, and Labor Force Behavior," JCPR Working Papers 89, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
  3. Melissa Schettini Kearney, 2002. "Is There an Effect of Incremental Welfare Benefits on Fertility Behavior? A Look at the Family Cap," NBER Working Papers 9093, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Jeffrey Grogger, 2004. "Time Limits and Welfare Use," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(2).
  5. Robert Moffitt, 2002. "The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program," NBER Working Papers 8749, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Schoeni, R.F. & Blank, R.M., 2000. "What Has Welfare Reform Accomplished? Impacts on Welfare Participation, Employment, Income, Poverty, and Family Structure," Papers, RAND - Labor and Population Program 00-02, RAND - Labor and Population Program.
  7. 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.
  8. Bruce D. Meyer & Dan T. Rosenbaum, 1999. "Making Single Mothers Work: Recent Tax and Welfare Policy and its Effects," JCPR Working Papers 152, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
  9. Neeraj Kaushal & Robert Kaestner, 2001. "From Welfare to Work: Has Welfare Reform Worked?," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 20(4), pages 699-719.
  10. Ann E. Horvath-Rose & H. Elizabeth Peters, 2000. "Welfare Waivers and Non-Marital Childbearing," JCPR Working Papers 128, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
  11. V. Joseph Hotz & Susan Williams McElroy & Seth G. Sanders, 2005. "Teenage Childbearing and Its Life Cycle Consequences: Exploiting a Natural Experiment," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 40(3).
  12. Phillip B. Levine, 2002. "The Impact of Social Policy and Economic Activity Throughout the Fertility Decision Tree," NBER Working Papers 9021, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Marianne Bertrand & Esther Duflo & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2002. "How Much Should We Trust Differences-in-Differences Estimates?," NBER Working Papers 8841, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Robert Kaestner & Neeraj Kaushal, 2005. "Immigrant and native responses to welfare reform," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 18(1), pages 69-92, 07.
  15. 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, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, number lwr.
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Cited by:
  1. Blau, David M. & van der Klaauw, Wilbert, 2010. "What Determines Family Structure?," IZA Discussion Papers 4912, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Leonard M. Lopoo & Sara McLanahan & Irwin Garfinkel, 2003. "Explaining The Trend In Teenage Birth Rates From 1981-1999," Working Papers 960, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Research on Child Wellbeing..
  3. Thomas DeLeire & Leonard Lopoo & Kosali Simon, 2011. "Medicaid Expansions and Fertility in the United States," Demography, Springer, vol. 48(2), pages 725-747, May.
  4. Lingxin Hao & Nan Astone & Andrew Cherlin, 2007. "Effects of child support and welfare policies on nonmarital teenage childbearing and motherhood," Population Research and Policy Review, Springer, vol. 26(3), pages 235-257, June.
  5. Dhaval M. Dave & Nancy E. Reichman & Hope Corman, 2008. "Effects of Welfare Reform on Educational Acquisition of Young Adult Women," NBER Working Papers 14466, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Kim, Jeounghee & Joo, Myungkook, 2011. "Did PRWORA's mandatory school attendance policy increase attendance among targeted teenage girls?," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 33(9), pages 1616-1623, September.
  7. Dhaval Dave & Hope Corman & Nancy Reichman, 2012. "Effects of Welfare Reform on Education Acquisition of Adult Women," Journal of Labor Research, Springer, vol. 33(2), pages 251-282, June.
  8. Chase-Lansdale, P. Lindsay & Cherlin, Andrew J. & Guttmannova, Katarina & Fomby, Paula & Ribar, David C. & Coley, Rebekah Levine, 2011. "Long-term implications of welfare reform for the development of adolescents and young adults," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 33(5), pages 678-688, May.

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