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Are lone mothers responsive to policy changes? The effects of a Norwegian workfare reform on earnings, education and poverty

  • Pronzato, Chiara
  • Mogstad, Magne

High welfare dependency and poverty rate among lone mothers prompted a workfare reform of the Norwegian welfare system for lone parents: activity requirements were brought in, time limits imposed and benefit levels raised. To evaluate the reform we introduce an estimator that, unlike the much used difference-in-difference approach, accounts for the fact that policy changes are typically phased in gradually rather than coming into full effect immediately. We find that the reform has not only led to increased earnings and educational attainment - in the process lowering welfare caseloads and therefore easing the government’s financial burden - but also reduced poverty.

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File URL: https://www.iser.essex.ac.uk/research/publications/working-papers/iser/2008-15.pdf
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Paper provided by Institute for Social and Economic Research in its series ISER Working Paper Series with number 2008-15.

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Date of creation: 09 Apr 2008
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Publication status: published
Handle: RePEc:ese:iserwp:2008-15
Contact details of provider: Postal: Publications Office, Institute for Social and Economic Research, University of Essex, Wivenhoe Park, Colchester, Essex CO4 3SQ UK
Phone: 44-1206-872957
Fax: 44-1206-873151
Web page: https://www.iser.essex.ac.uk/Email:


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Order Information: Postal: Publications Office, Institute for Social and Economic Research, University of Essex, Wivenhoe Park, Colchester, Essex CO4 3SQ UK
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  1. LaLonde, Robert J, 1986. "Evaluating the Econometric Evaluations of Training Programs with Experimental Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(4), pages 604-20, September.
  2. Eissa, Nada & Liebman, Jeffrey B, 1996. "Labor Supply Response to the Earned Income Tax Credit," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 111(2), pages 605-37, May.
  3. Christopher A. Swann, 2005. "Welfare Reform When Recipients Are Forward-Looking," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 40(1).
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  5. Richard Burkhauser & Greg Duncan & Richard Hauser & Roland Berntsen, 1991. "Wife or frau, women do worse: A comparison of men and women in the United States and Germany after marital dissolution," Demography, Springer, vol. 28(3), pages 353-360, August.
  6. John F. Ermisch & Robert E. Wright, 1991. "Welfare Benefits and Lone Parents' Employment in Great Britain," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 26(3), pages 424-456.
  7. Moffitt, Robert, 1985. "Unemployment insurance and the distribution of unemployment spells," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 85-101, April.
  8. Arnstein Aassve & Gianni Betti & Stefano Mazzuco & Letizia Mencarini, 2007. "Marital disruption and economic well-being: a comparative analysis," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 170(3), pages 781-799.
  9. Robert Moffitt, 2002. "The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program," NBER Working Papers 8749, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. 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.
  11. Randi Kjeldstad & Marit R�nsen, 2004. "Welfare Rules, Business Cycles, And Employment Dynamics Among Lone Parents In Norway," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 10(2), pages 61-89.
  12. V. Joseph Hotz & Charles H. Mullin & John Karl Scholz, 2002. "Welfare, Employment, and Income: Evidence on the Effects of Benefit Reductions from California," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(2), pages 380-384, May.
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