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Welfare and the Well-Being of Children: The Relative Effectiveness of Cash and In-Kind Transfers

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  • Janet Currie

Abstract

Cash transfers to families with children are increasingly being restricted to parents who work, while families of non-working parents are receiving a progressively larger share of their benefits in kind. This paper provides an evaluation of the empirical evidence regarding the effects of in-kind and cash transfer program on the children who are their intended beneficiaries. A distinction is made between in- kind transfer programs, such as the Food Stamp Program, that provide transfers to families that are earmarked for certain purposes, and programs such as Medicaid that provide specific services directly to children. Although the evidence is incomplete, it suggests that in- kind programs have stronger effects on children than cash transfers, and that programs that target specific benefits directly to children have the largest positive effects.

Suggested Citation

  • Janet Currie, 1993. "Welfare and the Well-Being of Children: The Relative Effectiveness of Cash and In-Kind Transfers," NBER Working Papers 4539, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:4539
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    Cited by:

    1. Levine, Phillip B. & Zimmerman, David J., 2005. "Children's welfare exposure and subsequent development," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(1), pages 31-56, January.
    2. Laura Blow & Ian Walker & Yu Zhu, 2012. "Who Benefits From Child Benefit?," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 50(1), pages 153-170, January.
    3. Callan, Tim & Keane, Claire, 2009. "Non-cash Benefits and the Distribution of Economic Welfare," The Economic and Social Review, Economic and Social Studies, vol. 40(1), pages 49-71.
    4. Datta Gupta, Nabanita & Simonsen, Marianne, 2010. "Non-cognitive child outcomes and universal high quality child care," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(1-2), pages 30-43, February.
    5. Nabanita Datta Gupta & Marianne Simonsen, 2010. "Effects of Universal Child Care Participation on Pre-teen Skills and Risky Behaviors," Economics Working Papers 2010-07, Department of Economics and Business Economics, Aarhus University.
    6. Shelley A. Phipps & Peter S. Burton, 1996. "Collective Models of Family Behaviour: Implications for Economic Policy," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 22(2), pages 129-143, June.
    7. Hanks, Andrew S. & Gunther, Carolyn & Lillard, Dean & Scharff, Robert L., 2016. "From Paper to Plastic: Understanding the Impact of EBT on WIC Recipient Behavior," 2017 Allied Social Sciences Association (ASSA) Annual Meeting, January 6-8, 2017, Chicago, Illinois 251834, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.

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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
    • H53 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Welfare Programs

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