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The Impact of Earnings Disregards on the Behavior of Low‐Income Families


  • Jordan D. Matsudaira
  • Rebecca M. Blank


This paper investigates the impact of changes in earnings disregards for welfare assistance received by single mothers following welfare reform in 1996. Some states adopted much higher earnings disregards (women could work full time and still receive welfare), while other states did not. We explore the effect of these changes on women's labor supply and income using several data sources and multiple estimation strategies. Our results indicate these changes had little effect on labor supply or income. We show this is because few women used these earnings disregards. This is surprising and we discuss why this might occur.
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  • Jordan D. Matsudaira & Rebecca M. Blank, 2014. "The Impact of Earnings Disregards on the Behavior of Low‐Income Families," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 33(1), pages 7-35, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:jpamgt:v:33:y:2014:i:1:p:7-35

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Bruce D. Meyer & Dan T. Rosenbaum, 2001. "Welfare, the Earned Income Tax Credit, and the Labor Supply of Single Mothers," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(3), pages 1063-1114.
    2. Bruce D. Meyer, 2002. "Labor Supply at the Extensive and Intensive Margins: The EITC, Welfare, and Hours Worked," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(2), pages 373-379, May.
    3. Blank, Rebecca M., 2002. "Can equity and efficiency complement each other?," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 9(4), pages 451-468, September.
    4. Alan J. Auerbach & Joel Slemrod, 1997. "The Economic Effects of the Tax Reform Act of 1986," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 35(2), pages 589-632, June.
    5. 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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    Cited by:

    1. Knoef, Marike & van Ours, Jan C., 2014. "How to Stimulate Single Mothers on Welfare to Find a Job: Evidence from a Natural Experiment," IZA Discussion Papers 8188, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. Marike Knoef & Jan C. van Ours, 2016. "How to stimulate single mothers on welfare to find a job: evidence from a policy experiment," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 29(4), pages 1025-1061, October.
    3. repec:bla:coecpo:v:35:y:2017:i:3:p:457-471 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Brian C. Cadena, 2013. "Native Competition and Low-Skilled Immigrant Inflows," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 48(4), pages 910-944.
    5. Lucie Schmidt, 2013. "The New Safety Net? Supplemental Security Income after Welfare Reform," Department of Economics Working Papers 2013-07, Department of Economics, Williams College.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H53 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Welfare Programs
    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply


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