IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Welfare Reform and Lone Parents Employment in the UK

Listed author(s):
  • Paul Gregg
  • Susan Harkness


The last thirty years saw dramatic increases in the employment rates of married/co-habiting mothers in the UK. Yet the employment rates of lone mothers were lower in the early 1990s than in the late 1970s, at just under 40 percent; and 25 percentage points lower than those of married mothers. In 1997 the incoming Labour government initiated a series of policy reforms aimed at reducing child poverty. A key element of their strategy was a move towards increasing employment rates among families with children. This paper evaluates how this package of policy reform impacted on lone parents employment. We use propensity score matching to construct a benchmark sample and then apply difference-in-difference estimation techniques to assess what would have happened to lone parents employment in the absence of policy reform. Our results show that, of the 11-percentage point rise in the rate of employment of lone parents between 1992 and 2002, 5-percentage points can be attribute to policy reform. This increase in employment occurred in-spite of significant rises in the level of support for non-working lone parents claiming Income Support. This is in sharp contrast to the experience of the USA, where welfare generosity did not increase and time limits and mandatory job search were employed alongside tax credits to get lone parents back to work. In the UK, further substantive policy changes are currently being phased in and so it is probable that there will be further employment gains for lone parents over the next few years. Even so, the pace of response to these reforms does not yet look sufficient to meet the Government's target of getting 70 percent of lone parents into work by 2010.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK in its series The Centre for Market and Public Organisation with number 03/072.

in new window

Length: 25 pages
Date of creation: Jun 2003
Handle: RePEc:bri:cmpowp:03/072
Contact details of provider: Postal:
2 Priory Road, Bristol, BS8 1TX

Phone: 0117 33 10799
Fax: 0117 33 10705
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

in new window

  1. Richard Blundell & Alan Duncan & Julian McCrae & Costas Meghir, 2000. "The labour market impact of the working families’ tax credit," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 21(1), pages 75-103, March.
  2. 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.
  3. Richard Blundell & Hilary W. Hoynes, 2004. "Has 'In-Work' Benefit Reform Helped the Labor Market?," NBER Chapters,in: Seeking a Premier Economy: The Economic Effects of British Economic Reforms, 1980-2000, pages 411-460 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Duncan, Alan & Giles, Christopher, 1996. "Labour Supply Incentives and Recent Family Credit Reforms," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 106(434), pages 142-155, January.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:bri:cmpowp:03/072. 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: ()

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 references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link 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 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.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.