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When Do Women Use AFDC & Food Stamps? The Dynamics of Eligibility vs. Participation

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  • Rebecca M. Blank
  • Patricia Ruggles

Abstract

This paper investigates dynamic patterns in the relationship between eligibility and participation in the AFDC and food stamp programs, using monthly longitudinal data from the Survey of Income and Program Participation. The results indicate that the majority of eligibility spells are relatively short, do not result in program participation, and end with increases in income. Participation is most likely to occur among women with lower current and future earning opportunities, and is also affected by locational and policy parameters. Those who elect to participate in these programs tend to start receiving benefits almost immediately upon becoming eligible. with little evidence of delayed program entry. A substantial number of women exit these programs before their eligibility ends; among at least some of these women it seems likely that there are unreported changes in income occurring. In 1989, if all eligible single-parents families had participated in AFDC and food stamps, benefit payments would have been $13.5 billion higher.

Suggested Citation

  • Rebecca M. Blank & Patricia Ruggles, 1993. "When Do Women Use AFDC & Food Stamps? The Dynamics of Eligibility vs. Participation," NBER Working Papers 4429, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:4429 Note: LS
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. O'Connell, Philip J. & Russell, Helen & FitzGerald, John, 2006. "Human Resources," Book Chapters,in: Morgenroth, Edgar (ed.), Ex-Ante Evaluation of the Investment Priorities for the National Development Plan 2007-2013 Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI).
    2. O'Neill, June A & Bassi, Laurie J & Wolf, Douglas A, 1987. "The Duration of Welfare Spells," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 69(2), pages 241-248, May.
    3. Moffitt, Robert, 1983. "An Economic Model of Welfare Stigma," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(5), pages 1023-1035, December.
    4. J. Fitzgerald, "undated". "A hazard model for welfare durations with unobserved location-specific effects," Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers 1046-94, University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs

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