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From Welfare to Work: Has Welfare Reform Worked?

  • Neeraj Kaushal

    (City University of New York)

  • Robert Kaestner

This paper discusses estimates of the effect of welfare reform,as measured by the imposition of time limits and family cap provisions, on the employment and fertility of less educated unmarried women. This analysis shows that welfare reform has induced less educated unmarried women to move from welfare to work in significant numbers. The imposition of time limits and other administrative reforms correlated with it have increased the employment of unmarried women with 12 or fewer years of education by an estimated 363,171, approximately 28 percent of the decline in welfare caseloads for this group since 1994. Furthermore, evidence shows that women who have left welfare for employment worked approximately 29 hours per week, which even at low wages may significantly improve their financial status relative to public assistance. However, little evidence can be found to show that the imposition of time limits and family caps affect the fertility of less educated unmarried women. © 2001 by the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management.

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Article provided by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. in its journal Journal of Policy Analysis and Management.

Volume (Year): 20 (2001)
Issue (Month): 4 ()
Pages: 699-719

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Handle: RePEc:wly:jpamgt:v:20:y:2001:i:4:p:699-719
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  1. Robert F. Schoeni & Rebecca M. Blank, 2000. "What Has Welfare Reform Accomplished? Impacts on Welfare Participation, Employment, Income, Poverty, and Family Structure," Working Papers 00-02, RAND Corporation Publications Department.
  2. Jeff Grogger, 2000. "Time Limits and Welfare Use," NBER Working Papers 7709, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. 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.
  4. David N. Figlio & James P. Ziliak, 1999. "Welfare Reform, the Business Cycle, and the Decline in AFDC Caseloads," JCPR Working Papers 77, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
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