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Welfare dependence and recidivism in an era of welfare reform


  • Shao-Hsun Keng
  • Steven Garasky
  • Helen Jensen


This study examines the dynamics of welfare programme participation during the initial period (1993-1995) of programme reforms at the state-level in Iowa. The programme changes for the state were remarkably similar to the national reforms implemented in the USA in 1996. Analysis of the Family Investment Program (FIP) participation over the programme's first two years show that, on average, recipients stayed fewer months in the second year compared with the first, although a relatively large share of participants (36%) stayed on for the full two years. Fixed effect and semiparametric duration models are used to examine welfare dependence and recidivism, respectively. Results indicate that income from wages and child support are significant factors in reducing welfare participation. Child support and wage income are crucial in determining the chances of exiting and of staying off the programme, especially during the early months of the exit.

Suggested Citation

  • Shao-Hsun Keng & Steven Garasky & Helen Jensen, 2002. "Welfare dependence and recidivism in an era of welfare reform," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 34(18), pages 2311-2323.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:applec:v:34:y:2002:i:18:p:2311-2323
    DOI: 10.1080/00036840210143080

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. repec:mpr:mprres:2734 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. G. Sandefur & S. Cook, "undated". "Duration of Public Assistance Receipt: Is Welfare a Trap?," Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers 1129-97, University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty.
    3. David T. Ellwood, 1986. "Targeting Would-Be Long-Term Recipients of AFDC," Mathematica Policy Research Reports 35f03eda0fa0455aa0dc255fb, Mathematica Policy Research.
    4. P. D. Brandon, "undated". "Vulnerability to future dependence among former AFDC mothers," Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers 1055-95, University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty.
    5. repec:mpr:mprres:652 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. repec:mpr:mprres:1916 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Thomas M. Fraker & Lucia A. Nixon & Jonathan E. Jacobson & Anne R. Gordon & Thomas J. Martin, 1998. "Iowa's Family Investment Program Two-Year Impacts," Mathematica Policy Research Reports a417759948f94d9cb2429ca08, Mathematica Policy Research.
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    Cited by:

    1. Chack-Kie Wong & Vivian Lou, 2010. "“I Wish to be Self-Reliant”: Aspiration for Self-Reliance, Need and Life Satisfaction, and Exit Dilemma of Welfare Recipients in Hong Kong," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 95(3), pages 519-534, February.
    2. Luis Ayala & Magdalena Rodríguez, 2010. "Explaining welfare recidivism: what role do unemployment and initial spells have?," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 23(1), pages 373-392, January.

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