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Can Work Alter Welfare Recipients' Beliefs about How They Will Fare in the Labor Market?


  • Peter Gottschalk

    () (Boston College)

  • Sheldon Danziger

    (University of Michigan)


Some public policies aimed at integrating welfare recipients into the world of work are predicated on the premise that getting welfare recipients to work will change their beliefs about how they will be treated in the labor market. This paper explores the rationale for these policies and concludes that a plausible argument can be made on the basis of concepts developed by social psychologists and by economists. The prediction that work affects beliefs is tested using a unique data set that allows us to estimate the causal effect. We find that exogenous increases in work induced by an experimental tax credit led to the predicted changes in self-efficacy.

Suggested Citation

  • Peter Gottschalk & Sheldon Danziger, 2003. "Can Work Alter Welfare Recipients' Beliefs about How They Will Fare in the Labor Market?," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 567, Boston College Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:boc:bocoec:567

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Mark Evan Edwards & Robert Plotnick & Marieka Klawitter, 2001. "Do Attitudes and Personality Characteristics Affect Socioeconomic Outcomes? The Case of Welfare Use by Young Women," Social Science Quarterly, Southwestern Social Science Association, vol. 82(4), pages 817-843, December.
    2. Roland BĂ©nabou & Jean Tirole, 2002. "Self-Confidence and Personal Motivation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(3), pages 871-915.
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    Endogenous tastes; wage subsidies;

    JEL classification:

    • J38 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Public Policy

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