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State Experimentation With Time-Limited AFDC Benefits: What Differentiates Reform-Minded States From Others?

Listed author(s):
  • Anne E. Winkler

This study examines states' experimentation with time-limited Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) benefits prior to the passage of the 1996 welfare reform legislation. The data reveal substantial variation in states' definitions of time-limited benefits adopted under the federal waivers. Some states adopted a "2 years and you're out" policy (i.e., AFDC cash benefits would be cut off), whereas others interpreted time limits much more leniently. Next, this study examines the economic, social, and political characteristics of states most likely associated with their adoption of this policy, both broadly and narrowly defined. The findings suggest that ability to pay, willingness to pay and political climate are among the factors that distinguish "reform-minded" states from others. These same factors are likely to be importantfollowing the 1996 legislation, as states assume much greater control than in the past m designing their welfare plans.

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Article provided by in its journal Public Finance Review.

Volume (Year): 26 (1998)
Issue (Month): 2 (March)
Pages: 155-183

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Handle: RePEc:sae:pubfin:v:26:y:1998:i:2:p:155-183
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