IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Linking program implementation and effectiveness: Lessons from a pooled sample of welfare-to-work experiments


  • Howard S. Bloom


  • Carolyn J. Hill

    (Georgetown Public Policy Institute, Georgetown University)

  • James A. Riccio



This paper addresses the question: How does implementation influence the effectiveness of mandatory welfare-to-work programs? Data from three large-scale, multi-site random assignment experiments were pooled; quantitative measures of program implementation were constructed; and multilevel statistical modeling was used to examine the relationship between program implementation and effects on short-term client earnings. Individual-level data were analyzed for 69,399 sample members and group-level implementation data were analyzed for 59 local programs. Findings indicate that, other things being equal, earnings effects are increased by: an emphasis on quick client employment, an emphasis on personalized client attention, staff caseloads that do not get too large, and limited use of basic education. Findings also show that mandatory welfare-to-work programs can be effective for many types of people, and that focusing on clients who are especially job-ready (or not) does not have a consistent influence on a program's effectiveness. © 2003 by the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management

Suggested Citation

  • Howard S. Bloom & Carolyn J. Hill & James A. Riccio, 2003. "Linking program implementation and effectiveness: Lessons from a pooled sample of welfare-to-work experiments," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 22(4), pages 551-575.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:jpamgt:v:22:y:2003:i:4:p:551-575 DOI: 10.1002/pam.10154

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: Link to full text; subscription required
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Lawrence M. Mead, 1983. "Expectations And Welfare Work: Win In New York City," Review of Policy Research, Policy Studies Organization, vol. 2(4), pages 648-662, May.
    2. Mary Jo Bane, 1989. "Welfare reform and mandatory versus voluntary work: Policy issue or management problem?," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 8(2), pages 285-289.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Oscar Mitnik, 2008. "How do Training Programs Assign Participants to Training? Characterizing the Assignment Rules of Government Agencies for Welfare-to-Work Programs in California," Working Papers 0907, University of Miami, Department of Economics.
    2. Denise Hoffman & Sarah Croake & David R. Mann & David Stapleton & Priyanka Anand & Chris Jones & Judy Geyer & Daniel Gubits & Stephen Bell & Andrew McGuirk & David Wittenburg & Debra Wrght & Amang Suk, "undated". "BOND Implementation and Evaluation: 2016 Stage 1 Interim Process, Participation, and Impact Report," Mathematica Policy Research Reports 0429e47d268d44f287aee8577, Mathematica Policy Research.
    3. Michael White, 2004. "Effective Job Search Practice in the UK's Mandatory Welfare-to-Work Programme for Youth," PSI Research Discussion Series 17, Policy Studies Institute, UK.
    4. repec:mpr:mprres:7520 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Stefanie Behncke & Markus Frˆlich & Michael Lechner, 2010. "Unemployed and their caseworkers: should they be friends or foes?," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 173(1), pages 67-92.
    6. Jochen Michaelis & Alexander Spermann, 2009. "Geringqualifizierte Arbeit, Marktlöhne und Sozialpolitik: Konzepte für Deutschland," MAGKS Papers on Economics 200920, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung).
    7. David Stapleton & David Wittenburg & Daniel Gubits & David Judkins & David R. Mann & Andrew McGuirk, 2013. "BOND Implementation and Evaluation: First-Year Snapshot of Earnings and Benefit Impacts for Stage 1," Mathematica Policy Research Reports ef02b16048974780b148458f9, Mathematica Policy Research.
    8. Burt S. Barnow & Jeffrey Smith, 2015. "Employment and Training Programs," NBER Chapters,in: Economics of Means-Tested Transfer Programs in the United States, volume 2, pages 127-234 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Margaretha Buurman & Robert Dur, 2012. "Incentives and the Sorting of Altruistic Agents into Street-Level Bureaucracies," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 114(4), pages 1318-1345, December.
    10. Geoffrey L. Wallace & Robert Haveman, 2007. "The implications of differences between employer and worker employment|earnings reports for policy evaluation," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 26(4), pages 737-754.
    11. Ng, Irene Y.H. & Ho, Kong Weng & Nesamani, Tharmalingam & Lee, Alex & Liang, Ngiam Tee, 2012. "Designing and implementing an evaluation of a national work support program," Evaluation and Program Planning, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 78-87.
    12. Stephen Bell & Daniel Gubits & David Stapleton & David Wittenburg & Michelle Derr & Arkadipta Ghosh & Sara Ansell & David Greenberg, 2011. "BOND Implementation and Evaluation: Evaluation Analysis Plan," Mathematica Policy Research Reports 795952932ec747588c128efa0, Mathematica Policy Research.
    13. McBeath, Bowen & Collins-Camargo, Crystal & Chuang, Emmeline & Wells, Rebecca & Bunger, Alicia C. & Jolles, Mónica Pérez, 2014. "New directions for research on the organizational and institutional context of child welfare agencies: Introduction to the symposium on “The Organizational and Managerial Context of Private Child Welf," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 38(C), pages 83-92.
    14. McBeath, Bowen & Meezan, William, 2009. "Interorganizational disparities in foster care service provision," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 31(5), pages 513-525, May.

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:wly:jpamgt:v:22:y:2003:i:4:p:551-575. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Wiley-Blackwell Digital Licensing) or (Christopher F. Baum). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.