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The Duration of Spells on Welfare and Off Welfare Among Lone Mothers in Ontario

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  • Jennifer Stewart
  • Martin D. Dooley

Abstract

We use administrative data to provide a first look at the dynamics of social assistance use among lone mothers in Ontario between 1990 and 1994. The evidence is mixed concerning a "welfare trap." Welfare exit rates do decline during the first year of a spell but the support is weakest in our preferred specification. The data more consistently indicate the decline in exit rates from an off-welfare spell (the likelihood of recidivism) during the 12 months following an exit from social assistance. More months of welfare use during past spells are associated with both longer future spells on welfare and shorter future spells off-welfare, but the magnitude of both effects is quite small. The length of both welfare and off-welfare spells is very sensitive to the levels of welfare benefits. Welfare spells are longer for lone mothers who are younger, poorly educated, never married, not employable, and for those who have more and younger children. Spell lengths also increase with the unemployment rate and decrease with the minimum wage. Off-welfare spells are shorter for those lone mothers who are older, never married, not employable, and who have very young children. Off-welfare spells are longer when the minimum wage is higher.

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  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpp:issued:v:25:y:1999:i:s1:p:47-72
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    1. Moffitt, Robert, 1992. "Incentive Effects of the U.S. Welfare System: A Review," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 30(1), pages 1-61, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Lori J. Curtis & Kate Rybczynski, 2014. "Exiting Poverty: Does Sex Matter?," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 40(2), pages 126-142, June.
    2. Lars Osberg & Kuan Xu, 1999. "Poverty Intensity: How Well Do Canadian Provinces Compare?," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 25(2), pages 179-195, June.
    3. Louis N. Christofides, 2000. "Social assistance and labour supply," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 33(3), pages 715-741, August.
    4. 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.
    5. 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.
    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. 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.
    8. 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.
    9. Guy Lacroix & Gino Santarossa & Pierre Gagné, 2003. "Une analyse de la dynamique de la dépendance à l'assistance-emploi des populations natives et immigrantes québécoises," CIRANO Project Reports 2003rp-14, CIRANO.

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