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Social Assistance Use in Canada: National and Provincial Trends in Incidence, Entry and Exit

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Author Info

  • Irvine, Ian
  • Finnie, Ross
  • Sceviour, Roger

Abstract

Canada witnessed a dramatic decline in welfare participation from 1993/94 to the end of the nineties - one almost on a par with the U.S., but without the sort of landmark legislation adopted there. We explore the dynamics of Social Assistance usage in Canada over this period using data based on tax files for between 2 and 4 million individuals in each year from Canada's Longitudinal Administrative Data - the LAD. The unique attributes of this base - size, longitudinal nature, and income information availability - allow us, for the first time, to calculate annual incidence, entry and exit rates both at the national and provincial levels, broken down by family type. We discuss the variety of experiences of these groups; we identify the policy context and discuss the implications of the findings.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch in its series Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series with number 2005245e.

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Date of creation: 30 May 2005
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Handle: RePEc:stc:stcp3e:2005245e

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Web page: http://www.statcan.gc.ca
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Related research

Keywords: Employment insurance; social assistance and other transfers; Labour; Labour mobility; turnover and work absences; Work transitions and life stages;

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References

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  1. Barrett, Garry F., 2000. "The effect of educational attainment on welfare dependence: Evidence from Canada," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 77(2), pages 209-232, August.
  2. Moffitt, Robert A., 2002. "Welfare programs and labor supply," Handbook of Public Economics, in: A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), Handbook of Public Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 34, pages 2393-2430 Elsevier.
  3. Christofides, L.N. & Stengos, T. & Swidinsky, R., 1996. "Welfare Participation and Labour Market Behaviour in Canada," Working Papers 1996-6, University of Guelph, Department of Economics and Finance.
  4. Finnie, Ross & Beach, Charles M., 2004. "A Longitudinal Analysis of Earnings Change in Canada," Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series 2004227e, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch.
  5. Duclos, Jean-Yves & Fortin, Bernard & Lacroix, Guy & Roberge, Hélène, 1998. "The Dynamics of Welfare Participation in Québec," Cahiers de recherche 9817, Université Laval - Département d'économique.
  6. Lars Osberg, 2000. "Poverty in Canada and the United States: measurement, trends, and implications," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 33(4), pages 847-877, November.
  7. Jennifer Stewart & Martin D. Dooley, 1999. "The Duration of Spells on Welfare and Off Welfare Among Lone Mothers in Ontario," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 25(s1), pages 47-72, November.
  8. Susan E Mayer, 2000. "Why Welfare Caseloads Fluctuate: A Review of Research on AFDC, SSI, and the Food Stamps Program," Treasury Working Paper Series 00/07, New Zealand Treasury.
  9. Lindbeck, Assar, 1995. "Hazardous Welfare-State Dynamics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(2), pages 9-15, May.
  10. Ross Finnie & Arthur Sweetman, 2003. "Poverty dynamics: empirical evidence for Canada," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 36(2), pages 291-325, May.
  11. Michael Charette & Ronald Meng, 1994. "The Determinants of Welfare Participation of Female Heads of Household in Canada," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 27(2), pages 290-306, May.
  12. Rebecca M. Blank, 2002. "Evaluating Welfare Reform in the United States," NBER Working Papers 8983, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Garry F. Barrett & Michael I. Cragg, 1998. "An Untold Story: The Characteristics of Welfare Use in British Columbia," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 31(1), pages 165-188, February.
  14. Moffitt, Robert, 1992. "Incentive Effects of the U.S. Welfare System: A Review," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 30(1), pages 1-61, March.
  15. Jacob A. Klerman & Steven J. Haider, 2001. "A Stock-Flow Analysis of the Welfare Caseload: Insights from California Economic Conditions," Working Papers 01-02, RAND Corporation Publications Department.
  16. Picot, Garnett & Frenette, Marc, 2003. "Life After Welfare: The Economic Well-being of Welfare Leavers in Canada During the 1990s," Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series 2003192e, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Keith G. Banting, 2005. "Do We Know Where We Are Going? The New Social Policy in Canada," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 31(4), pages 421-430, December.
  2. Berg, Nathan & Gabel, Todd, 2010. "New Reform Strategies and Welfare Participation in Canada," MPRA Paper 26591, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  3. Siu-Ming Kwok & Dora Tam, 2011. "Challenges of Appraising Intangible Outcomes with Unclear Objectives: Performance Management Issues in Local Government in Ontario," Public Organization Review, Springer, vol. 11(3), pages 297-306, September.

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