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The intergenerational transmission of welfare participation: Facts and possible causes


  • Peter Gottschalk


This article explores two methodological issues in measuring intergenerational correlations in welfare participation. First, a method is proposed that controls for differences in eligibility as well as participation. Second, the use of event history analysis allows all available information on mothers' and daughters' welfare histories to be used. The National Longitudinal Survey of Youth is used to measure the intergenerational correlation among whites, blacks, and Hispanics. Three broad conclusions emerge. First, parental participation in Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) is correlated with daughters' AFDC participation for whites and Hispanics-daughters living in households that received assistance have higher probabilities of having a child and receiving assistance in the year of first birth than similar daughters whose parents didn't participate (or participated for shorter periods). Second, parents' participation does not seem to be capturing solely the effects of low income which leads to a correlation in mothers' and daughters' eligibility. Finally, the loss of income if the parent does not participate raises the probability that the daughter will receive assistance. The effect of this income loss offsets nearly half of the participation effect for whites.

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  • Peter Gottschalk, 1992. "The intergenerational transmission of welfare participation: Facts and possible causes," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 11(2), pages 254-272.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:jpamgt:v:11:y:1992:i:2:p:254-272 DOI: 10.2307/3325367

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    Cited by:

    1. Susan E Mayer, 2000. "Why Welfare Caseloads Fluctuate: A Review of Research on AFDC, SSI, and the Food Stamps Program," Treasury Working Paper Series 00/07, New Zealand Treasury.
    2. Gottschalk, Peter, 1996. "Is the correlation in welfare participation across generations spurious?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(1), pages 1-25, December.
    3. Robert Tanton & Honge Gong & Ann Harding, 2011. "Multiple Generation Disadvantage: How Communities Affect the Outcomes of Different Generations," NATSEM Working Paper Series 11/05, University of Canberra, National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling.
    4. I. Ku & R. D. Plotnick, "undated". "Do Children from Welfare Families Obtain Less Education?," Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers 1217-00, University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty.
    5. Nicolas Hérault & Guyonne Kalb, 2016. "Intergenerational correlation of labor market outcomes," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 14(1), pages 231-249, March.
    6. Juan D. Baron & Deborah A. Cobb-Clark & Nisvan Erkal, 2008. "Cultural Transmission of Work-Welfare Attitudes and the Intergenerational Correlation in Welfare Receipt," Department of Economics - Working Papers Series 1059, The University of Melbourne.
    7. Beaulieu, Nicolas & Duclos, Jean-Yves & Fortin, Bernard & Rouleau, Manon, 2001. "An Econometric Analysis of Intergenerational Reliance on Social Assistance," Cahiers de recherche 0116, Université Laval - Département d'économique.
    8. Cobb-Clark, Deborah A. & Dahmann, Sarah & Salamanca, Nicolas & Zhu, Anna, 2017. "Intergenerational Disadvantage: Learning about Equal Opportunity from Social Assistance Receipt," IZA Discussion Papers 11070, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    9. Rebecca M. Blank, 2005. "Poverty, Policy, and Place: How Poverty and Policies to Alleviate Poverty Are Shaped by Local Characteristics," International Regional Science Review, , vol. 28(4), pages 441-464, October.
    10. Yana Kucheva, 2014. "The Receipt of Subsidized Housing across Generations," Population Research and Policy Review, Springer;Southern Demographic Association (SDA), vol. 33(6), pages 841-871, December.
    11. Lingxin Hao & Nan Astone & Andrew Cherlin, 2007. "Effects of child support and welfare policies on nonmarital teenage childbearing and motherhood," Population Research and Policy Review, Springer;Southern Demographic Association (SDA), vol. 26(3), pages 235-257, June.
    12. Gabriella Berloffa & Eleonora Matteazzi & Paola Villa, 2016. "Family background and youth labour market outcomes across Europe," Working Papers 393, ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality.
    13. Duncan, Greg J. & Yeung, Wei-Jun J., 1995. "Extent and consequences of welfare dependence among America's children," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 17(1-2), pages 157-182.
    14. Seninger, Stephen F., 1998. "Evaluating participation and employment outcomes in a welfare-to-work program," Evaluation and Program Planning, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 73-79, February.
    15. Anna Christina D'Addio, 2007. "Intergenerational Transmission of Disadvantage: Mobility or Immobility Across Generations?," OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers 52, OECD Publishing.
    16. Greg Duncan & Rachel Dunifon & Morgan Ward Doran & W. Jean Yeung, 1998. "How Different ARE Welfare and Working Families? And Do Those Differences Matter for Children's Achievement?," JCPR Working Papers 38, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.

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