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The Impact of Welfare Reform on Leaver Characteristics, Employment and Recidivism

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Welfare reform has transformed the U.S. cash assistance program for single parents and their children. Although there remains substantial uncertainty about the importance of reform in producing the subsequent decline in the welfare caseload, even less is known about its impact on the experiences and well being of former welfare recipients. The analysis here focuses on the characteristics and employment of welfare recipients in the state of Missouri over the period 1990-1999. We find that there has been little change in the observable characteristics of those entering, on, or leaving welfare, but there has been a dramatic growth in the importance of employment for all these groups. We also examine the dynamics of employment and welfare recidivism comparing cohorts of leavers prior to and after welfare reform. We find that after welfare reform leavers are much more likely to be working, have higher total earnings, work for employers with similar characteristics, and are less likely to return to welfare. These results suggest that welfare reform has not materially harmed welfare recipients.

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File URL: http://economics.missouri.edu/working-papers/2002/WP0205_mueser_troske.pdf
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Paper provided by Department of Economics, University of Missouri in its series Working Papers with number 0205.

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Length: 55 pgs.
Date of creation: 20 Jun 2002
Date of revision: 26 Aug 2002
Handle: RePEc:umc:wpaper:0205

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  17. Hilary Williamson Hoynes, 2001. "How are families who left welfare doing over time? a comparison of two cohorts of welfare leavers - commentary," Economic Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue Sep, pages 21-22.
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Cited by:
  1. Peter R. Mueser & Kenneth R. Troske & David R. Stevens, 2007. "The Impact of Welfare Reform on Leaver Characteristics, Employment and Recidivism: An Analysis of Maryland and Missouri," Working Papers 0720, Department of Economics, University of Missouri.
  2. Jill Marie Gunderson & Julie L. Hotchkiss, 2006. "Welfare recipiency, job separation outcomes, and postseparation earnings: insight from linked personnel and state administrative data," Working Paper 2006-07, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
  3. Peter R. Mueser & Lael R. Keiser & Carolyn J. Heinrich, 2003. "Race, Bureaucratic Discretion, and the Implementation of Welfare Reform," Working Papers 0307, Department of Economics, University of Missouri.
  4. Chris Herbst & David Stevens, 2010. "The Impact of Local Labor Market Conditions on Work and Welfare Decisions: Revisiting an Old Question Using New Data," Population Research and Policy Review, Springer, vol. 29(4), pages 453-479, August.

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