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Welfare Program Reentry among Postreform Leavers

Listed author(s):
  • Donald Bruce


    (Center for Business and Economic Research and Department of Economics, University of Tennessee)

  • Karie Barbour


    (Center for Business and Economic Research and Department of Economics, University of Tennessee)

  • Angela Thacker


    (Center for Business and Economic Research, University of Tennessee)

The dramatic welfare reforms of 1996 affected public assistance usage patterns, possibly leading to more cycling on and off welfare as opposed to long-term continuous participation. We examine 128,775 Tennessee families that left welfare between October 1996 and April 2001. Of these, about one-third returned to the program at least once during this period. We provide statistical portraits of these families and compare reentrants with those who remained off public assistance. We conclude with a multivariate analysis of the determinants of reentry. Results suggest that families with younger, female, or black caretakers and those with more children are more likely to return. Those less likely to return include families whose caretakers were married or who had more education or were not working as of case closure. Families who left because of a time limit or who accumulated more months of program participation were also more likely to return.

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Article provided by Southern Economic Association in its journal Southern Economic Journal.

Volume (Year): 70 (2004)
Issue (Month): 4 (April)
Pages: 816-836

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Handle: RePEc:sej:ancoec:v:70:4:y:2004:p:816-836
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