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What Do Welfare-to-Work Demonstrations Reveal to Welfare Reformers?

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  • John V. Pepper

Abstract

Under the new welfare system, states must design and institute programs that both provide assistance and encourage work, two objectives that have thus far appeared incompatible. Will states meet these new requirements? For many innovative programs, the randomized welfare-to-work experiments conducted over the last three decades may be the only source of observed data. While these experiments yield information on the outcomes of mandated treatments, the new regime permits states and localities much discretion. Using data from four experiments conducted in the mid-1980s, this study examines what welfare-to-work demonstrations reveal about outcomes when the treatments are heterogenous. In the absence of assumptions, these data allow us to draw only limited inferences about the labor market outcomes of welfare recipients. Combined with prior information, however, data from experimental demonstrations are informative, suggesting either that the long run federal requirements cannot be met or that these standards will only be met under special circumstances.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research in its series JCPR Working Papers with number 105.

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Date of creation: 01 Oct 1999
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Handle: RePEc:wop:jopovw:105

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References

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  1. Rajeev H. Dehejia, 2002. "Program evaluation as a decision problem," Discussion Papers 0102-23, Columbia University, Department of Economics.
  2. Charles F. Manski, 1996. "Learning about Treatment Effects from Experiments with Random Assignment of Treatments," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 31(4), pages 709-733.
  3. Charles F. Manski, 1993. "The Mixing Problem in Program Evaluation," NBER Technical Working Papers 0148, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. repec:att:wimass:9217 is not listed on IDEAS
  5. repec:att:wimass:9526 is not listed on IDEAS
  6. Manski, C.F. & Nagin, D.S., 1996. "Bounding Disagreements About Treatment Effects: A Case Study of Sentencing and Recidivism," Working papers 9526r, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  7. John V. Pepper, 2000. "The Intergenerational Transmission Of Welfare Receipt: A Nonparametric Bounds Analysis," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 82(3), pages 472-488, August.
  8. V. Joseph Hotz & Guido W. Imbens & Julie H. Mortimer, 1999. "Predicting the Efficacy of Future Training Programs Using Past Experiences," NBER Technical Working Papers 0238, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. James J. Heckman, 1991. "Randomization and Social Policy Evaluation," NBER Technical Working Papers 0107, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Cited by:
  1. John V. Pepper, 1998. "Using Performance Standards to Evaluate Social Programs with Incomplete Outcome Data: General Issues and Application to a Higher Education Block Grant Program," Virginia Economics Online Papers 312, University of Virginia, Department of Economics.
  2. Robert Lemke & Claus Hoerandner & Robert McMahon, 2006. "Student Assessments, Non-test-takers, and School Accountability," Education Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 14(2), pages 235-250.
  3. Jeounghee Kim, 2012. "The Effects of Welfare-to-Work Programs on Welfare Recipients’ Employment Outcomes," Journal of Family and Economic Issues, Springer, vol. 33(1), pages 130-142, March.
  4. Mitnik, Oscar A., 2009. "How Do Training Programs Assign Participants to Training? Characterizing the Assignment Rules of Government Agencies for Welfare-to-Work Programs in California," IZA Discussion Papers 4024, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Guildo W. Imbens, 2003. "Sensitivity to Exogeneity Assumptions in Program Evaluation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(2), pages 126-132, May.

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