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The Correlates of Work in a Post-AFDC World: The Results from a Longitudinal State-Level Analysis


  • Lewis, Dan

    () (Northwestern University)

  • Konstantopoulos, Spyros

    () (Michigan State University)

  • Altenbernd, Lisa

    () (Northwestern University)


Much of the research that has followed welfare reform and new policies such as the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) has focused on identifying the variations in how different states have put the new policy into practice. Less is known however, about how this new policy affects the ability of recipients to earn a living through work. We use panel data from the state of Illinois and examine what explains labor force participation and performance among current and recent TANF recipients. We use both cross-sectional and longitudinal methods to analyze our data. Our results indicate that human capital factors such as education, job skills, and health are important determinants of labor market participation and performance. In addition, we find that long term welfare recipients are equally likely to participate and perform well in the labor market as shorter term welfare recipients. Finally, government housing subsidy appeared to have a positive effect on labor force participation and performance.

Suggested Citation

  • Lewis, Dan & Konstantopoulos, Spyros & Altenbernd, Lisa, 2005. "The Correlates of Work in a Post-AFDC World: The Results from a Longitudinal State-Level Analysis," IZA Discussion Papers 1626, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp1626

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Moffitt, Robert, 1992. "Incentive Effects of the U.S. Welfare System: A Review," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 30(1), pages 1-61, March.
    2. Harry J. Holzer & Michael A. Stoll, 2003. "Employer Demand for Welfare Recipients by Race," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(1), pages 210-241, January.
    3. Sanders Korenman & David Neumark, 1991. "Does Marriage Really Make Men More Productive?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 26(2), pages 282-307.
    4. Jeffrey R. Kling & Jens Ludwig & Lawrence F. Katz, 2005. "Neighborhood Effects on Crime for Female and Male Youth: Evidence from a Randomized Housing Voucher Experiment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 120(1), pages 87-130.
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    6. Jeffrey R. Kling & Jeffrey Liebman & Lawrence F. Katz & Lisa Sanbonmatsu, 2004. "Moving to Opportunity and Tranquility: Neighborhood Effects on Adult Economic Self-Sufficiency and Health From a Randomized Housing Voucher Experiment," Working Papers 5, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
    7. Laura Stander Connolly, 2000. "The Effect of Welfare Reform on the Incomes and Earnings of Low-Income Families: Evidence from the Current Population Survey," JCPR Working Papers 181, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
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    9. O'Neill, June, 1990. "The Role of Human Capital in Earnings Differences between Black and White Men," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 4(4), pages 25-45, Fall.
    10. Daniel Immergluck, 1996. "What employers want: Job prospects for less-educated workers," The Review of Black Political Economy, Springer;National Economic Association, vol. 24(4), pages 135-143, June.
    11. Sheldon Danziger & Colleen M. Heflin & Mary E. Corcoran & Elizabeth Oltmans & Hui-Chen Wang, 2002. "Does it pay to move from welfare to work?," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 21(4), pages 671-692.
    12. Sheldon Danziger & Colleen M. Heflin & Mary Corcoran & Elizabeth Oltmans, 2002. "Does it Pay to Move from Welfare to Work?," JCPR Working Papers 254, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
    13. Smith, James P & Welch, Finis R, 1989. "Black Economic Progress after Myrdal," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 27(2), pages 519-564, June.
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    More about this item


    welfare; employment; earnings;

    JEL classification:

    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs
    • J20 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - General
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J30 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - General

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