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Welfare reform, time limits, and infant health

  • Leonard, Jonathan
  • Mas, Alexandre

This paper offers evidence that welfare time limits contributed to a deterioration of infant health. We use the fact that the dates at which TANF recipients were first subject to timing out varied by state. We show that by 2000 there was a marked difference in TANF duration spells depending on whether the state employed the 60-month Federally imposed time limit, or a shorter limit, differences that were not present under AFDC. There were significant increases in infant mortality when time limits became binding in a state. These increases occurred primarily among mothers who could have plausibly timed-out of TANF: poorly educated and unmarried women with at least one previous live-birth. There is some evidence that the population of mothers affected by time limits were less likely to seek prenatal care in the first trimester, suggesting a possible role for reduced medical care in explaining the deterioration in infant health.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Health Economics.

Volume (Year): 27 (2008)
Issue (Month): 6 (December)
Pages: 1551-1566

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jhecon:v:27:y:2008:i:6:p:1551-1566
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505560

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  14. Jonathan Gruber & Phillip Levine & Douglas Staiger, 1999. "Abortion Legalization And Child Living Circumstances: Who Is The ''Marginal Child''?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(1), pages 263-291, February.
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  17. Elizabeth Oltmans Ananat & Jonathan Gruber & Phillip B. Levine & Douglas Staiger, 2009. "Abortion and Selection," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 91(1), pages 124-136, February.
  18. Robert Kaestner & Won Chan Lee, 2005. "The effect of welfare reform on prenatal care and birth weight," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 14(5), pages 497-511.
  19. Abraído-Lanza, Ana F. & Chao, Maria T. & Flórez, Karen R., 2005. "Do healthy behaviors decline with greater acculturation?: Implications for the Latino mortality paradox," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 61(6), pages 1243-1255, September.
  20. Anna Aizer, 2006. "Public Health Insurance, Program Take-Up, and Child Health," NBER Working Papers 12105, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  23. Michael Brien & Christopher Swann, 2001. "Does Participation in Multiple Welfare Programs Improve Birth Outcomes?," JCPR Working Papers 212, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
  24. Barbara Devaney & Linda Bilheimer & Jennifer Schore, 1992. "Medicaid costs and birth outcomes: The effects of prenatal WIC participation and the use of prenatal care," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 11(4), pages 573-592.
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