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The Effects of Welfare-to-Work Program Activities on Labor Market Outcomes

  • Dyke, Andrew

    ()

    (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill)

  • Heinrich, Carolyn J.

    ()

    (University of Texas at Austin)

  • Mueser, Peter R.

    ()

    (University of Missouri-Columbia)

  • Troske, Kenneth

    ()

    (University of Kentucky)

Studies examining the effectiveness of welfare-to-work programs present findings that are mixed and sometimes at odds, in part due to research design, data, and methodological limitations of the studies. We aim to substantially improve on past approaches to estimate program effectiveness by using administrative data on welfare recipients in Missouri and North Carolina to obtain separate estimates of the effects of participating in sub-programs of each state's welfare-to-work program. Using data on all women who entered welfare between the second quarter of 1997 and fourth quarter of 1999 in these states, we follow recipients for sixteen quarters and model their quarterly earnings as a function of demographic characteristics, prior welfare and work experience, the specific types of welfare-to-work programs in which they participate, and time since participation. We focus primarily on three types of subprograms–assessment, job readiness and job search assistance, and more intensive programs designed to augment human capital skills–and use a variety of methods that allow us to compare how common assumptions influence results. In general, we find that the impacts of program participation are negative in the quarters immediately following participation but improve over time, in most cases turning positive in the second year after participation. The results also show that more intensive training is associated with greater initial earnings losses but also greater earnings gains in the long run.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 1520.

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Length: 48 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp1520
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  1. Black, Dan A. & Smith, J.A.Jeffrey A., 2004. "How robust is the evidence on the effects of college quality? Evidence from matching," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 121(1-2), pages 99-124.
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  3. repec:mpr:mprres:2955 is not listed on IDEAS
  4. A. Smith, Jeffrey & E. Todd, Petra, 2005. "Does matching overcome LaLonde's critique of nonexperimental estimators?," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 125(1-2), pages 305-353.
  5. Mueser, Peter R. & Troske, Kenneth & Gorislavsky, Alexey, 2003. "Using State Administrative Data to Measure Program Performance," IZA Discussion Papers 786, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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  7. Peter R. Mueser & Carolyn J. Heinrich & Kenneth Troske, 2003. "Welfare to Temporary Work: Implications for Labor Market Outcomes," Working Papers 0308, Department of Economics, University of Missouri.
  8. Peter R. Mueser & Kyung-Seong Jeon & Andrew Dyke & Carolyn J. Heinrich & Kenneth R. Troske, 2006. "The Effects of Welfare-to-Work Program Activities on Labor Market Outcomes," Working Papers 0602, Department of Economics, University of Missouri.
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  10. V. Joseph Hotz & Guido W. Imbens & Jacob A. Klerman, 2000. "The Long-Term Gains from GAIN: A Re-Analysis of the Impacts of the California GAIN Program," NBER Working Papers 8007, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  12. Pascal Courty & Gerald Marschke, 2004. "An Empirical Investigation of Gaming Responses to Explicit Performance Incentives," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(1), pages 23-56, January.
  13. Jacobson, Louis & LaLonde, Robert J. & Sullivan, Daniel G., 2004. "Estimating the Returns to Community College Schooling for Displaced Workers," IZA Discussion Papers 1017, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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