Fiscal Effects of Block Grants for the Needy: An Interpretation of the Evidence
In 1996 the United States revamped its welfare system by eliminating the entitlement to cash benefits under Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC), and replacing it by Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF). Federal financing was converted from open-ended matching grants to fixed block grants. This paper reviews the evidence on the likely impact of block grants for the needy on average benefit levels, total redistributional outlays, and on differentials across states. The econometric evidence on state responses to federal incentives for spending on the needy varies enormously. An evaluation of this evidence, together with an examination of state responses to the federalization of aid to the elderly, blind, and disabled through the Supplementary Security Income program, suggests that in the long run the federal changes will substantially decrease the amount of direct cash redistribution in the United States. A reasonable guess is that average benefits to the needy will be 15 to 30 percent smaller than under current law, while total spending on cash grants could decline by as much as 35 percent. While interstate competition will act to reduce benefit differentials across states, this tendency will be offset by differential matching rate effects. An extreme ‘race to the bottom,’ with a total withering of the transfer state, is unlikely to occur. Copyright Kluwer Academic Publishers 1998
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.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
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.:
- P. B. Levine & D. J. Zimmerman, .
"An empirical analysis of the welfare magnet debate using the NLSY,"
Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers
1098-96, University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty.
- Phillip B. Levine & David J. Zimmerman, 1999. "An empirical analysis of the welfare magnet debate using the NLSY," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 12(3), pages 391-409.
- Phillip B. Levine & David J. Zimmerman, 1995. "An Empirical Analysis of the Welfare Magnet Debate Using the NLSY," NBER Working Papers 5264, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Blank, Rebecca M., 1988. "The effect of welfare and wage levels on the location decisions of female-headed households," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 186-211, September.
- Plotnick, Robert D, 1986. "An Interest Group Model of Direct Income Redistribution," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 68(4), pages 594-602, November.
- Howard Chernick, 1982. "Block grants for the needy: The case of AFDC," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 1(2), pages 209-222.
- David C. Ribar & Mark O. Wilhelm, 1999. "The Demand for Welfare Generosity," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 81(1), pages 96-108, February.
- Michael Wiseman, 1996. "State strategies for welfare reform: The Wisconsin story," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 15(4), pages 515-546.
- Edward M. Gramlich & Deborah S. Laren, 1984. "Migration and Income Redistribution Responsibilities," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 19(4), pages 489-511.
- Orr, Larry L, 1976. "Income Transfers as a Public Good: An Application to AFDC," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 66(3), pages 359-71, June.
- Shroder, Mark, 1995. "Games the States Don't Play: Welfare Benefits and the Theory of Fiscal Federalism," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 77(1), pages 183-91, February.
- Edward M. Gramlich & Henry J. Aaron & Michael C. Lovell, 1982. "An Econometric Examination of the New Federalism," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 13(2), pages 327-370.
- Moffitt, Robert, 1990.
"Has State Redistribution Policy Grown More Conservative?,"
National Tax Journal,
National Tax Association, vol. 43(2), pages 123-42, June.
- Robert Moffitt, 1988. "Has State Redistribution Policy Grown More Conservative?," NBER Working Papers 2516, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Howard Chernick, 1992. "A Model of the Distributional Incidence of State and Local Taxes," Public Finance Review, , vol. 20(4), pages 572-585, October.
- Robert K. Triest, 1997. "Regional differences in family poverty," New England Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, issue Jan, pages 3-17.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:kap:itaxpf:v:5:y:1998:i:2:p:205-233. 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: (Sonal Shukla)or (Christopher F. Baum)
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.