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An Untold Story: The Characteristics of Welfare Use in British Columbia

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  • Garry F. Barrett
  • Michael I. Cragg

Abstract

The dynamics of welfare participation are analyzed using a unique longitudinal data set derived from provincial administrative records over the period 1980-92. The principal findings are that the majority of welfare spells are experienced by single men and women without children and that, while most welfare spells are short, there is a high incidence of recidivism. Although continuous, long-term use and dependence on welfare is not characteristic of most recipients' experiences, the program does not provide an effective route to financial independence, since most users periodically return to the program.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:cje:issued:v:31:y:1998:i:1:p:165-188
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Fortin, Bernard & Lacroix, Guy & Drolet, Simon, 2004. "Welfare benefits and the duration of welfare spells: evidence from a natural experiment in Canada," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(7-8), pages 1495-1520, July.
    2. Stephen Whelan, 2010. "The Interaction between Income Support Programs," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 24(4), pages 407-440, December.
    3. Lise, Jeremy & Seitz, Shannon & Smith, Jeffrey, 2003. "Equilibrium Policy Experiments and the Evaluation of Social Programs," Queen's Economics Department Working Papers 273439, Queen's University - Department of Economics.
    4. Jeremy Lise & Shannon Seitz & Jeffrey Smith, 2003. "Equilibrium Policy Experiments and the Evaluation of Social Programs," Working Papers 1012, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
    5. Louis N. Christofides, 2000. "Social assistance and labour supply," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 33(3), pages 715-741, August.
    6. Ayala, Luis & Rodriguez, Magdalena, 2007. "Barriers to employment and welfare dynamics: Evidence from Spain," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 29(2), pages 237-257.
    7. Lemieux, Thomas & Milligan, Kevin, 2008. "Incentive effects of social assistance: A regression discontinuity approach," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 142(2), pages 807-828, February.
    8. Sebastian Königs, 2015. "Micro-level dynamics of social assistance receipt. Evidence from 4 European countries," Discussion Papers 797, Statistics Norway, Research Department.
    9. Finnie, Ross & Irvine, Ian & Sceviour, Roger, 2004. "Welfare Dynamics in Canada: The Role of Individual Attributes and Economic-policy Variables," Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series 2004231e, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch.
    10. Berg, Nathan & Gabel, Todd, 2010. "New Reform Strategies and Welfare Participation in Canada," MPRA Paper 26591, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    11. Finnie, Ross & Irvine, Ian & Sceviour, Roger, 2005. "Social Assistance Use in Canada: National and Provincial Trends in Incidence, Entry and Exit," Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series 2005245e, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch.
    12. Coelli, Michael B. & Green, David A. & Warburton, William P., 2007. "Breaking the cycle? The effect of education on welfare receipt among children of welfare recipients," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(7-8), pages 1369-1398, August.
    13. Stephen Whelan, 2010. "The take-up of means-tested income support," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 39(3), pages 847-875, December.
    14. Ronald D. Kneebone & Katherine G. White, 2009. "Fiscal Retrenchment and Social Assistance in Canada," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 35(1), pages 21-40, March.
    15. 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.
    16. Green, David A. & Warburton, William P., 2004. "Tightening a welfare system: the effects of benefit denial on future welfare receipt," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(7-8), pages 1471-1493, July.
    17. Herwig Immervoll & Stephen P. Jenkins & Sebastian Königs, 2015. "Are Recipients of Social Assistance 'Benefit Dependent'?: Concepts, Measurement and Results for Selected Countries," OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers 162, OECD Publishing.
    18. 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.
    19. Vroman, Wayne, 2002. "Unemployment insurance and unemployment assistance : a comparison," Social Protection and Labor Policy and Technical Notes 24084, The World Bank.
    20. Centre for the Study of Living Standards, 2002. "The Impact of the National Child Benefit Supplement on the Low Income Status of Canadian Families with Children: The SPSD/M Results," CSLS Research Reports 02cb, Centre for the Study of Living Standards.
    21. Lise, Jeremy & Seitz, Shannon & Smith, Jeffrey, 2005. "Equilibrium Policy Experiments and the Evaluation of Social Programs," Queen's Economics Department Working Papers 273552, Queen's University - Department of Economics.
    22. Habibov, Nazim N. & Fan, Lida, 2010. "Comparing and contrasting poverty reduction performance of social welfare programs across jurisdictions in Canada using Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA): An exploratory study of the era of devolution," Evaluation and Program Planning, Elsevier, vol. 33(4), pages 457-467, November.
    23. Finnie, Ross & Irvine, Ian & Sceviour, Roger, 2004. "La dynamique de l'aide sociale au Canada : le role des attributs individuels et des variables economiques et politiques," Direction des etudes analytiques : documents de recherche 2004231f, Statistics Canada, Direction des etudes analytiques.

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