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Distinguished Lecture on Economics in Government: Fighting Poverty: Lessons from Recent U.S. History

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  • Rebecca M. Blank

Abstract

Welfare reform efforts in the 1990s aimed at reducing welfare dependence and moving women into work. Public assistance use fell and labor force participation among mothers rose at a stunning rate over the decade. Poverty declined, but at a slower rate. These changes are causally related to the strong macroeconomy, welfare reform efforts, and other policy changes, especially the EITC and minimum wage expansions. This paper concludes that all of these effects reinforced each other, producing very large behavioral changes. It is too early to predict the effects of these changes on long-term family well-being.

Suggested Citation

  • Rebecca M. Blank, 2000. "Distinguished Lecture on Economics in Government: Fighting Poverty: Lessons from Recent U.S. History," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(2), pages 3-19, Spring.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:14:y:2000:i:2:p:3-19 Note: DOI: 10.1257/jep.14.2.3
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Bruce D. Meyer & Dan T. Rosenbaum, 2001. "Welfare, the Earned Income Tax Credit, and the Labor Supply of Single Mothers," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(3), pages 1063-1114.
    2. Patricia M. Anderson & Philip B. Levine, 1999. "Child Care and Mothers' Employment Decisions," NBER Working Papers 7058, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. N. Eissa & H. W. Hoynes, "undated". "The Earned Income Tax Credit and the Labor Supply of Married Couples," Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers 1194-99, University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty.
    4. Robert F. Schoeni & Rebecca M. Blank, 2000. "What has Welfare Reform Accomplished? Impacts on Welfare Participation, Employment, Income, Poverty, and Family Structure," NBER Working Papers 7627, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Rebecca M. Blank, 2001. "What Causes Public Assistance Caseloads to Grow?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 36(1), pages 85-118.
    6. Gary Burtless, 1986. "The work response to a guaranteed income: a survey of experimental evidence," Conference Series ; [Proceedings], Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, pages 22-59.
    7. Rebecca M. Blank, 1999. "What Goes Up Must Come Down? Explaining Recent Changes in Public Assistance Caseloads," JCPR Working Papers 78, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
    8. Charles Michalopoulos & Philip K. Robins & David Card, 2000. "When Financial Incentives Pay for Themselves: Early Findings from the Self-Sufficiency Project's Applicant Study," JCPR Working Papers 133, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
    9. Rebecca M. Blank & Alan S. Blinder, 1985. "Macroeconomics, Income Distribution, and Poverty," NBER Working Papers 1567, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Francine D. Blau & Lawrence M. Kahn, 2006. "The U.S. Gender Pay Gap in the 1990S: Slowing Convergence," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 60(1), pages 45-66, October.
    2. Skott, Peter & Auerbach, Paul, 2000. "Skill asymmetries, increasing wage inequality and unemployment," Economics Discussion Papers 2000-9, School of Economics, Kingston University London.
    3. Waltraud Peter, 2003. "US-Sozialhilfereform: Sechs Jahre Erfahrung," ifo Schnelldienst, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 56(05), pages 37-41, March.
    4. T. M. Tonmoy Islam, 2016. "Estimating the Elasticity of Growth in the US Using the Generalized Means of Income," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, pages 95-112.
    5. Cat Moody, 2006. "Migration and Economic Growth: a 21st Century Perspective," Treasury Working Paper Series 06/02, New Zealand Treasury.
    6. Paul Auerbach & Peter Skott, "undated". "Skill Asymmetries, Increasing Wage Inequality and Unemployment," Economics Working Papers 2000-18, Department of Economics and Business Economics, Aarhus University.
    7. repec:pri:indrel:dsp01gb19f581g is not listed on IDEAS
    8. John Bryant & Veronica Jacobsen & Matthew Bell & Daniel Garrett, 2004. "Labour Force Participation and GDP in New Zealand," Treasury Working Paper Series 04/07, New Zealand Treasury.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs
    • I32 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Measurement and Analysis of Poverty

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