IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

Evaluating Welfare Reform Waivers under Section 1115

Listed author(s):
  • Carol Harvey
  • Michael J. Camasso
  • Radha Jagannathan
Registered author(s):

    Beginning in 1962, Section 1115 of the Social Security Act allowed the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services to waive specific provisions of the act within individual states, allowing them to implement welfare experiments or demonstration projects to reduce welfare recipiency, ease transitions into the labor market for welfare clients, or otherwise advance the objectives of the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program. The period between 1987 and 1996 was an especially active time for welfare reform waiver applications. Each Section 1115 waiver application required a plan for evaluating the effects of the proposed changes in the AFDC program. This period of active welfare reform and experimentation, accompanied by a rigorous evaluation component, held the promise of an unparalleled opportunity to examine and document the effects of proposed welfare reform measures. In this paper we review the Section 1115 welfare reform and evaluation activity conducted by states during the Bush and Clinton administrations, ending in August 1996 when the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act was passed by Congress. We base the review on publicly available data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and on interviews we conducted with both state project managers and evaluators from each of the 44 states that had received Section 1115 welfare reform waivers between 1992 and the passage of the 1996 welfare reform act.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal Journal of Economic Perspectives.

    Volume (Year): 14 (2000)
    Issue (Month): 4 (Fall)
    Pages: 165-188

    in new window

    Handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:14:y:2000:i:4:p:165-188
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/jep.14.4.165
    Contact details of provider: Web page:

    More information through EDIRC

    Order Information: Web:

    References listed on IDEAS
    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

    in new window

    1. David Greenberg & Mark Shroder & Matthew Onstott, 1999. "The Social Experiment Market," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 13(3), pages 157-172, Summer.
    2. Erica B. Baum, 1991. "When the witch doctors agree: The family support act and social science research," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 10(4), pages 603-615.
    3. James J. Heckman & Jeffrey A. Smith, 1995. "Assessing the Case for Social Experiments," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(2), pages 85-110, Spring.
    4. LaLonde, Robert J, 1986. "Evaluating the Econometric Evaluations of Training Programs with Experimental Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(4), pages 604-620, September.
    5. Irwin Garfinkel & Sara McLanahan & Kristen Harknett, 1999. "Fragile Families and Welfare Reform," JCPR Working Papers 113, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
    6. Gary Burtless & Larry L. Orr, 1986. "Are Classical Experiments Needed for Manpower Policy," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 21(4), pages 606-639.
    7. Gary Burtless, 1995. "The Case for Randomized Field Trials in Economic and Policy Research," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(2), pages 63-84, Spring.
    8. Thomas M. Fraker & Lucia A. Nixon & Jonathan E. Jacobson & Anne R. Gordon & Thomas J. Martin, 1998. "Iowa's Family Investment Program Two-Year Impacts," Mathematica Policy Research Reports a417759948f94d9cb2429ca08, Mathematica Policy Research.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:14:y:2000:i:4:p:165-188. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Jane Voros)

    or (Michael P. Albert)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.