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How Costly is Welfare Stigma? Separating Psychological Costs from Time Costs


Author Info

  • Colleen Flaherty Manchester
  • Kevin J. Mumford


This paper empirically decomposes the costs of welfare participation using a model of labor supply and participation in multiple welfare programs. Prior estimates of the cost of welfare participation have not differentiated psychological costs, or stigma, from the effort required to become eligible and maintain eligibility (time costs). The relative size of these two costs has implications for policy. We find that psychological costs are at least as large as the time costs associated with participation in food assistance programs. In addition, we find that the incidence of psychological costs is inconsistent with these costs acting as an effective screening mechanism.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Purdue University, Department of Economics in its series Purdue University Economics Working Papers with number 1229.

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Length: 42 pages
Date of creation: Jan 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:pur:prukra:1229

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Related research

Keywords: Program Participation; Welfare Stigma; Labor Supply; Structural Estimation;

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Blog mentions

As found by, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. How big are welfare stigma?
    by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2010-09-20 14:51:00
  2. How Costly is Welfare Stigma?
    by Ariel Goldring in Free Market Mojo on 2010-11-23 12:00:42
Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
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Cited by:
  1. Martie Gillen & Hyungsoo Kim, 2014. "Older Adults’ Receipt of Financial Help: Does Personality Matter?," Journal of Family and Economic Issues, Springer, Springer, vol. 35(2), pages 178-189, June.


This item is featured on the following reading lists or Wikipedia pages:
  1. Economic Logic blog


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