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Intergenerational Effects of Welfare Reform on Educational Attainment

Listed author(s):
  • Amalia R. Miller
  • Lei Zhang

This paper estimates the impact of the fundamental welfare reforms of the 1990s on the educational attainment of children in low-income families. Using administrative records and individual survey data spanning the early 1990s to the mid-2000s, we find large positive effects of welfare reform: income gaps in school enrollment and dropout rates narrow by more than 20 percent. Unlike the significant and growing relative gains in the years following state welfare reforms, we find no evidence of relative gains for low-income adolescents in the years preceding the reforms. These findings are robust under alternative definitions of the treatment and control groups and after controlling for contemporaneous economic and policy changes.

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File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/663348
Download Restriction: Access to the online full text or PDF requires a subscription.

File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/663348
Download Restriction: Access to the online full text or PDF requires a subscription.

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Article provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal The Journal of Law and Economics.

Volume (Year): 55 (2012)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
Pages: 437-476

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Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlawec:doi:10.1086/663348
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/JLE/

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  1. Heckman, James J. & LaFontaine, Paul A., 2007. "The American High School Graduation Rate: Trends and Levels," IZA Discussion Papers 3216, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. David Deming & Susan Dynarski, 2008. "The Lengthening of Childhood," NBER Working Papers 14124, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. 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.
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  9. Eric A. Hanushek & Margaret E. Raymond, 2005. "Does school accountability lead to improved student performance?," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 24(2), pages 297-327.
  10. Yoram Ben-Porath, 1967. "The Production of Human Capital and the Life Cycle of Earnings," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 75, pages 352-352.
  11. Robert Kaestner & Sanders Korenman & June O'Neill, 2003. "Has welfare reform changed teenage behaviors?," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 22(2), pages 225-248.
  12. Hanushek, Eric A, 1986. "The Economics of Schooling: Production and Efficiency in Public Schools," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 24(3), pages 1141-1177, September.
  13. Amalia R. Miller & Lei Zhang, 2009. "The effects of welfare reform on the academic performance of children in low-income households," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 28(4), pages 577-599.
  14. Hanushek, E-A & Rivkin, S-G & Taylor, L-L, 1995. "Aggregation and the Estimated Effects of School Resources," RCER Working Papers 397, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  15. Bruce D. Meyer & Dan T. Rosenbaum, 1998. "Welfare, the Earned Income Tax Credit, and the Labor Supply of Single Mothers," JCPR Working Papers 32, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
  16. Neumark, David & Wascher, William, 1995. "Minimum-Wage Effects on School and Work Transitions of Teenagers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(2), pages 244-249, May.
  17. Steven G. Rivkin, 1995. "Black/White Differences in Schooling and Employment," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 30(4), pages 826-852.
  18. Paul Offner, 2005. "Welfare Reform and Teenage Girls," Social Science Quarterly, Southwestern Social Science Association, vol. 86(2), pages 306-322.
  19. Charles L. Baum II, 2003. "Does Early Maternal Employment Harm Child Development? An Analysis of the Potential Benefits of Leave Taking," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(2), pages 381-408, April.
  20. Ai, Chunrong & Norton, Edward C., 2003. "Interaction terms in logit and probit models," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 80(1), pages 123-129, July.
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