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Welfare reforms and child well-being in the US and UK

Author

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  • Waldfogel, Jane

    () (Columbia University School of Social Work)

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

  • Waldfogel, Jane, 2008. "Welfare reforms and child well-being in the US and UK," Working Paper Series 2008:11, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:ifauwp:2008_011
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    File URL: http://www.ifau.se/upload/pdf/se/2008/wp08-11.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Engstrom, P. & Holmlund, B. & Kolm, A.-S., 2001. "Optimal Taxation in Search Equilibrium with Home Production," Papers 2001:19, Uppsala - Working Paper Series.
    2. Mike Brewer, 2007. "Welfare reform in the UK: 1997 - 2007," IFS Working Papers W07/20, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
    3. Jan Boone & Peter Fredriksson & Bertil Holmlund & Jan C. van Ours, 2007. "Optimal Unemployment Insurance with Monitoring and Sanctions," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 117(518), pages 399-421, March.
    4. Caroline Hall & Laura Hartman, 2010. "Moral hazard among the sick and unemployed: evidence from a Swedish social insurance reform," Empirical Economics, Springer, pages 27-50.
    5. Jensen, Peter & Rosholm, Michael & Svarer, Michael, 2003. "The response of youth unemployment to benefits, incentives, and sanctions," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 19(2), pages 301-316, June.
    6. Caroline Hall & Laura Hartman, 2010. "Moral hazard among the sick and unemployed: evidence from a Swedish social insurance reform," Empirical Economics, Springer, pages 27-50.
    7. Laura Larsson, 2006. "Sick of Being Unemployed? Interactions between Unemployment and Sickness Insurance," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 108(1), pages 97-113, March.
    8. Larsson, Laura, 2004. "Harmonizing unemployment and sickness insurance: Why (not)?," Working Paper Series 2004:8, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Welfare reform; Child well-being;

    JEL classification:

    • I30 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General
    • J10 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - General

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