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Local Labor Markets And Welfare Spells: Do Demand Conditions Matter?

  • Hilary Williamson Hoynes

This paper examines the impact of changes in labor market conditions on participation in the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program in California. Transitions off welfare and transitions back onto welfare are estimated using discrete duration models that control for local labor market conditions, demographic and neighborhood characteristics, duration effects, county-fixed effects, time effects, and county-specific time trends. The results show that higher unemployment rates, lower employment growth, lower employment-to-population ratios, and lower wage growth are associated with longer welfare spells and higher recidivism rates. Hispanics, blacks, and two-parent families are the groups that are most sensitive to changes in local labor market conditions. © 2000 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

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Article provided by MIT Press in its journal The Review of Economics and Statistics.

Volume (Year): 82 (2000)
Issue (Month): 3 (August)
Pages: 351-368

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Handle: RePEc:tpr:restat:v:82:y:2000:i:3:p:351-368
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  1. Holzer, Harry J, 1991. "Employment, Unemployment and Demand Shifts in Local Labor Markets," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 73(1), pages 25-32, February.
  2. O'Neill, June A & Bassi, Laurie J & Wolf, Douglas A, 1987. "The Duration of Welfare Spells," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 69(2), pages 241-48, May.
  3. Hilary Hoynes, 1993. "Welfare Transfers in Two-Parent Families: Labor Supply and Welfare Participation Under AFDC-UP," NBER Working Papers 4407, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Moffitt, Robert, 1992. "Incentive Effects of the U.S. Welfare System: A Review," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 30(1), pages 1-61, March.
  5. Meyer, Bruce D, 1990. "Unemployment Insurance and Unemployment Spells," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 58(4), pages 757-82, July.
  6. Cain, Glen G & Finnie, Ross E, 1990. "The Black-White Difference in Youth Employment: Evidence for Demand-Side Factors," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 8(1), pages S364-95, January.
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  8. John M. Fitzgerald, 1995. "Local labor markets and local area effects on welfare duration," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 14(1), pages 43-67.
  9. Bound, John & Holzer, Harry J, 1993. "Industrial Shifts, Skills Levels, and the Labor Market for White and Black Males," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 75(3), pages 387-96, August.
  10. Timothy J. Bartik, 2003. "Local Economic Development Policies," Upjohn Working Papers and Journal Articles 03-91, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.
  11. Manski, C.F., 1991. "Identification of Endogenous Social Effects: the Reflection Problem," Working papers 9127, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  12. Olivier Jean Blanchard & Lawrence F. Katz, 1992. "Regional Evolutions," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 23(1), pages 1-76.
  13. David T. Ellwood, 1986. "Targeting Would-Be Long-Term Recipients of AFDC," Mathematica Policy Research Reports 35f03eda0fa0455aa0dc255fb, Mathematica Policy Research.
  14. Rebecca M. Blank & Patricia Ruggles, 1993. "When Do Women Use AFDC & Food Stamps? The Dynamics of Eligibility vs. Participation," NBER Working Papers 4429, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Timothy J. Bartik, 1991. "Who Benefits from State and Local Economic Development Policies?," Books from Upjohn Press, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, number wbsle, March.
  16. Heckman, James J. & Singer, Burton, 1984. "Econometric duration analysis," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 24(1-2), pages 63-132.
  17. Blank, Rebecca M., 1989. "Analyzing the length of welfare spells," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(3), pages 245-273, August.
  18. Hoynes, Hilary & MaCurdy, Thomas, 1994. "Has the Decline in Benefits Shortened Welfare Spells?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(2), pages 43-48, May.
  19. O'Connell, Philip J. & Russell, Helen & FitzGerald, John, 2006. "Human Resources," Book Chapters, in: Morgenroth, Edgar (ed.), Ex-Ante Evaluation of the Investment Priorities for the National Development Plan 2007-2013 Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI).
  20. Moffitt, Robert, 1983. "An Economic Model of Welfare Stigma," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(5), pages 1023-35, December.
  21. J. Fitzgerald, . "A hazard model for welfare durations with unobserved location-specific effects," Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers 1046-94, University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty.
  22. Greg Duncan & Saul Hoffman, 1990. "Welfare benefits, economic opportunities, and out-of-wedlock births among black teenage girls," Demography, Springer, vol. 27(4), pages 519-535, November.
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