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U.S. Welfare Reform: What's Relevant for Europe?

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  • Rebecca M. Blank

Abstract

This paper reviews the U.S. welfare reform efforts over the 1990s and the effects of these reforms to date. Seven "lessons" of potential interest to European observers are discussed, with particular attention to the conclusions of more recent research. Such research indicates, for example, that more effective programs contain both positive and negative incentives, utilise work-first as well as job training programs, and provide some important supports beyond just job and work skills. The paper ends with some speculations about why European policy-makers are becoming more interested in U.S. welfare reform experiments than they have been in the past. (JEL I3, J2, H1)

Suggested Citation

  • Rebecca M. Blank, 2003. "U.S. Welfare Reform: What's Relevant for Europe?," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, vol. 49(1), pages 49-74.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:cesifo:v:49:y:2003:i:1:p:49-74.
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1093/cesifo/49.1.49
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Bruce D. Meyer & Dan T. Rosenbaum, 2001. "Welfare, the Earned Income Tax Credit, and the Labor Supply of Single Mothers," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(3), pages 1063-1114.
    2. Wolfgang Ochel, 2002. "Welfare to Work in the US: A Model for Germany?," FinanzArchiv: Public Finance Analysis, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 59(1), pages 1-91, February.
    3. Besley, Timothy & Coate, Stephen, 1992. "Workfare versus Welfare Incentive Arguments for Work Requirements in Poverty-Alleviation Programs," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(1), pages 249-261, March.
    4. Lindbeck, Assar, 2001. "Changing Tides for the Welfare State - An Essay," Working Paper Series 550, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
    5. Rafael Lalive & Jan C. van Ours & Josef Zweimüller, 2005. "The Effect Of Benefit Sanctions On The Duration Of Unemployment," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 3(6), pages 1386-1417, December.
    6. Schroyen, F. & Torsvik, G., 2001. "Sticks and Carrots for the Alleviation of Long Term Poverty," Norway; Department of Economics, University of Bergen 2001, Department of Economics, University of Bergen.
    7. Ellwood, David T., 2000. "The Impact of the Earned Income Tax Credit and Social Policy Reforms on Work, Marriage, and Living Arrangements," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 53(n. 4), pages 1063-1106, December.
    8. Gurgand, Marc & Margolis, David N., 2002. "Welfare and Labor Earnings: An Evaluation of the Financial Gains to Work," IZA Discussion Papers 461, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    9. Rebecca M. Blank, 2002. "Evaluating Welfare Reform in the United States," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(4), pages 1105-1166, December.
    10. Robert Haveman & Barbara Wolfe, 2000. "Welfare to Work in the U.S.: A Model for Other Developed Nations?," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 7(1), pages 95-114, February.
    11. repec:mpr:mprres:2822 is not listed on IDEAS
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    Cited by:

    1. James J. Heckman & Jonas Agell & Florian Gertser & Merz Friedrich, 2003. "The Labour Market and the Job Miracle," CESifo Forum, Ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 4(2), pages 29-48, October.
    2. Immervoll, Herwig, 2009. "Minimum-Income Benefits in OECD Countries: Policy Design, Effectiveness and Challenges," IZA Discussion Papers 4627, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. Hsien-Hen Lu & Julian Palmer & Younghwan Song & Mary C. Lennon & J. Lawrence Aber, 2004. "Children facing economic hardships in the United States," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 10(11), pages 287-338, June.
    4. Wolfgang Ochel, 2004. "Welfare-to-Work Experiences with Specific Work-First Programmes in Selected Countries," CESifo Working Paper Series 1153, CESifo Group Munich.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I3 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty
    • J2 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor
    • H1 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government

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