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Have Welfare-To-Work Programs Improved Over Time In Putting Welfare Recipients To Work?


  • David H. Greenberg

    () (University of Maryland-Baltimore County)

  • Philip K. Robins

    (Department of Economics, University of Miami)


Data from 76 experimental welfare-to-work programs conducted in the United States between 1983 and 1998 are used to investigate whether the impacts of such programs on employment had been improving over time and whether specific program features influencing such changes can be identified. Over the period, an increasing percentage of control group members received services similar to those offered to program group members. As a result, differential participation in program service activities between program and control group members decreased steadily over time. This reduction in the net receipt of program services tended to reduce the impact of these programs on employment. However, the negative influence of the reduced incremental services was offset by other factors that resulted in program impacts remaining essentially constant from 1983 to 1998. Suggestions are made for possibly improving program impacts in future experiments.

Suggested Citation

  • David H. Greenberg & Philip K. Robins, 2010. "Have Welfare-To-Work Programs Improved Over Time In Putting Welfare Recipients To Work?," Working Papers 2010-27, University of Miami, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:mia:wpaper:2010-27

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Bruce D. Meyer & Dan T. Rosenbaum, 2001. "Welfare, the Earned Income Tax Credit, and the Labor Supply of Single Mothers," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(3), pages 1063-1114.
    2. Daniel Friedlander & David H. Greenberg & Philip K. Robins, 1997. "Evaluating Government Training Programs for the Economically Disadvantaged," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 35(4), pages 1809-1855, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Burt S. Barnow & Jeffrey Smith, 2015. "Employment and Training Programs," NBER Chapters,in: Economics of Means-Tested Transfer Programs in the United States, volume 2, pages 127-234 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Carlos A. Flores & Oscar A. Mitnik, 2013. "Comparing Treatments across Labor Markets: An Assessment of Nonexperimental Multiple-Treatment Strategies," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 95(5), pages 1691-1707, December.

    More about this item


    Welfare Programs; Program Evaluation; Employment Behavior of Low-Income Families; Meta Analysis;

    JEL classification:

    • J21 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure
    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs


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