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Welfare and the Well-Being of Children: The Relative Effectiveness of Cash and In-Kind Transfers

In: Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 8

  • Janet Currie

Cash transfers to families with children are increasingly being restricted to parents who work, while families of non-working parents are receiving a progressively larger share of their benefits in kind. This paper provides an evaluation of the empirical evidence regarding the effects of in-kind and cash transfer program on the children who are their intended beneficiaries. A distinction is made between in- kind transfer programs, such as the Food Stamp Program, that provide transfers to families that are earmarked for certain purposes, and programs such as Medicaid that provide specific services directly to children. Although the evidence is incomplete, it suggests that in- kind programs have stronger effects on children than cash transfers, and that programs that target specific benefits directly to children have the largest positive effects.

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This chapter was published in:
  • James M. Poterba, 1994. "Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 8," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number pote94-3, May.
  • This item is provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Chapters with number 10883.
    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberch:10883
    Contact details of provider: Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
    Phone: 617-868-3900
    Web page: http://www.nber.org
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    1. Rebecca A. Maynard & Richard J. Murnane, 1979. "The Effects of a Negative Income Tax on School Performance: Results of an Experiment," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 14(4), pages 463-476.
    2. Joshua Angrist, 1989. "Lifetime Earnings and the Vietnam Era Draft Lottery: Evidence from Social Security Administrative Records," Working Papers 631, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
    3. Blau, Francine D & Grossberg, Adam J, 1992. "Maternal Labor Supply and Children's Cognitive Development," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 74(3), pages 474-81, August.
    4. Philip K. Robins, 1985. "A Comparison of the Labor Supply Findings from the Four Negative Income Tax Experiments," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 20(4), pages 567-582.
    5. Sonalde Desai & P. L. Chase-Lansdale & Robert Michael, . "Mother or Market? Effects of Maternal Employment on Cognitive Development of Four-year-old Children," University of Chicago - Population Research Center 88-11, Chicago - Population Research Center.
    6. Janet Currie & Duncan Thomas, 1993. "Medicaid and Medical Care for Children," NBER Working Papers 4284, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Sheldon Danziger & Jonathan Stern, 1990. "Causes and Consequences of Child Poverty in the United States," Innocenti Occasional Papers, Economic Policy Series iopeps90/35, UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre.
    8. Venti, Steven F, 1984. "The Effects of Income Maintenance on Work, Schooling, and Non-Market Activities of Youth," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 66(1), pages 16-25, February.
    9. Currie, Janet & Thomas, Duncan, 1995. "Does Head Start Make a Difference?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(3), pages 341-64, June.
    10. Gottschalk, Peter, 1990. "AFDC Participation across Generations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(2), pages 367-71, May.
    11. Sonalde Desai & P. Chase-Lansdale & Robert Michael, 1989. "Mother or Market? Effects of Maternal Employment on the Intellectual Ability of 4-Year-Old Children," Demography, Springer, vol. 26(4), pages 545-561, November.
    12. Currie, Janet & Cole, Nancy, 1993. "Welfare and Child Health: The Link between AFDC Participation and Birth Weight," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(4), pages 971-85, September.
    13. Rebecca M. Blank & Patricia Ruggles, 1993. "When Do Women Use AFDC & Food Stamps? The Dynamics of Eligibility vs. Participation," NBER Working Papers 4429, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Thomas, D., 1995. "Like Father, Like Son, Like Mother, Like Daughter, Parental Resources and Child Height," Papers 95-01, RAND - Reprint Series.
    15. Barbara H. Kehrer & Charles M. Wolin, 1979. "Impact of Income Maintenance on Low Birth Weight: Evidence from the Gary Experiment," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 14(4), pages 434-462.
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