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Welfare Reforms and Child Well-Being in the US and UK

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  • Jane Waldfogel

Abstract

This paper examines the effects of recent welfare reforms in the US and UK on the well-being of children in low-income families, looking specifically at the effects on poverty, family expenditures, and child health and development. The paper finds some commonalities but also some notable differences. Common to both countries is a sizable reduction in child poverty, although the reduction in child poverty in the US has been less, and some families appear to have been left behind. Expenditure data also point to divergence across the two countries. In the UK, low-income families affected by the reforms are spending more money on items related to children and are more likely to own a car and a phone, while in the US, families affected by welfare reforms are primarily spending more money on items related to employment but not items for children. Finally, a common finding across countries is a relative dearth of more direct evidence on the well-being of children, and specifically how the reforms have affected child health and development. Identifying such effects remains an important topic for further research.

Suggested Citation

  • Jane Waldfogel, 2007. "Welfare Reforms and Child Well-Being in the US and UK," CASE Papers case126, Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion, LSE.
  • Handle: RePEc:cep:sticas:case126
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    File URL: http://sticerd.lse.ac.uk/dps/case/cp/CASEpaper126.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    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 & James X. Sullivan, 2003. "Measuring the Well-Being of the Poor Using Income and Consumption," NBER Working Papers 9760, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Bruce D. Meyer & James X. Sullivan, 2006. "Consumption, Income, and Material Well-Being After Welfare Reform," NBER Working Papers 11976, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Meyer, Bruce D. & Sullivan, James X., 2004. "The effects of welfare and tax reform: the material well-being of single mothers in the 1980s and 1990s," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(7-8), pages 1387-1420, July.
    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.
    6. Steven Haider & Alison Jacknowitz & Robert Schoeni, 2003. "Welfare work requirements and child well-being: Evidence from the effects on breast-feeding," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 40(3), pages 479-497, August.
    7. Lesley J. Turner & Sheldon Danziger & Kristin S. Seefeldt, 2006. "Failing the Transition from Welfare to Work: Women Chronically Disconnected from Employment and Cash Welfare," Social Science Quarterly, Southwestern Social Science Association, vol. 87(2), pages 227-249.
    8. Hills, John, 2004. "Inequality and the State," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199276646.
    9. Bruce D. Meyer & Dan T. Rosenbaum, 1999. "Making Single Mothers Work: Recent Tax and Welfare Policy and its Effects," JCPR Working Papers 152, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
    10. Moffitt, Robert, 2008. "Welfare reform: the US experience," Working Paper Series 2008:13, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
    11. Brady-Smith, Christy & Brooks-Gunn, Jeanne & Waldfogel, Jane & Fauth, Rebecca, 2001. "Work or welfare? Assessing the impacts of recent employment and policy changes on very young children," Evaluation and Program Planning, Elsevier, vol. 24(4), pages 409-425, November.
    12. Richard Dickens & David T Ellwood, 2003. "Child Poverty in Britain and the United States," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 113(488), pages 219-239, June.
    13. Meyer, Bruce D. & Rosenbaum, Dan T., 2000. "Making Single Mothers Work: Recent Tax and Welfare Policy and Its Effects," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 53(4), pages 1027-1062, December.
    14. Brewer, Mike & Duncan, Alan & Shephard, Andrew & Suarez, Maria Jose, 2006. "Did working families' tax credit work? The impact of in-work support on labour supply in Great Britain," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(6), pages 699-720, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Silvia Mendolia, 2016. "Maternal Working Hours and the Well-Being of Adolescent Children: Evidence from British Data," Journal of Family and Economic Issues, Springer, vol. 37(4), pages 566-580, December.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    welfare; poverty; expenditures; child well-being;

    JEL classification:

    • I3 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty
    • J1 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics

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