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Welfare Reform in the United States: Implications for British Social Policy (with commentaries by Kitty Stewart, David Piachaud and Howard Glennerster)


  • James Midgley


Recent government pronouncements in the UK and above all the recent Conservative Party (2008) policy document on welfare reform suggest that US welfare reform is increasingly being taken as a model for the UK. What lessons should the UK draw from US experience? The long established means tested programme for needy families known as Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) was replaced in 1996 with a welfare to work programme known as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). The historical background and features of the new program are elaborated and the way it has been implemented in varied ways in different states is documented. The findings of a number of outcome studies assessing the programme's impact and effectiveness are reviewed. Three commentaries on the paper consider how far American experience should be a guide to welfare policy in Britain.

Suggested Citation

  • James Midgley, 2008. "Welfare Reform in the United States: Implications for British Social Policy (with commentaries by Kitty Stewart, David Piachaud and Howard Glennerster)," CASE Papers case131, Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion, LSE.
  • Handle: RePEc:cep:sticas:case131

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Saul D. Hoffman & Laurence S. Seidman, 2003. "Helping Working Families: The Earned Income Tax Credit," Books from Upjohn Press, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, number hwf, November.
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    More about this item


    welfare reform; comparative public policy; United States/UK;

    JEL classification:

    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs


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