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

  • Janet Currie

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.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w4539.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 4539.

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Date of creation: Nov 1993
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Publication status: published as Tax Policy and the Economy, vol. 8, ed. James M. Poterba, 1994 (MIT Press)
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:4539
Note: LS
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  1. Currie, J. & Thomas, D., 1995. "Does Head Start make a Difference?," Papers 95-10, RAND - Reprint Series.
  2. Sheldon Danziger & Jonathan Stern, 1990. "Causes and Consequences of Child Poverty in the United States," Papers iopeps90/35, Innocenti Occasional Papers, Economic Policy Series.
  3. Venti, Steven F, 1984. "The Effects of Income Maintenance on Work, Schooling, and Non-Market Activities of Youth," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 66(1), pages 16-25, February.
  4. Nichols, Albert L & Zeckhauser, Richard J, 1982. "Targeting Transfers through Restrictions on Recipients," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(2), pages 372-77, May.
  5. Desai, S. & Chase-Lansdale, P.L. & Michael, R.T., 1988. "Mother Or Market? Effects Of Maternal Employment On Cognitive Development Of Four-Year-Old Children," University of Chicago - Economics Research Center 88-11, Chicago - Economics Research Center.
  6. Angrist, Joshua D, 1990. "Lifetime Earnings and the Vietnam Era Draft Lottery: Evidence from Social Security Administrative Records," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(3), pages 313-36, June.
  7. 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.
  8. Thomas, D., 1995. "Like Father, Like Son, Like Mother, Like Daughter, Parental Resources and Child Height," Papers 95-01, RAND - Reprint Series.
  9. Angrist, Joshua D, 1990. "Lifetime Earnings and the Vietnam Era Draft Lottery: Evidence from Social Security Administrative Records: Errata," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(5), pages 1284-86, December.
  10. Besley, Timothy & Coate, Stephen, 1992. "Workfare versus Welfare Incentive Arguments for Work Requirements in Poverty-Alleviation Programs," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(1), pages 249-61, March.
  11. Francine D. Blau & Adam J. Grossberg, 1990. "Maternal Labor Supply and Children's Cognitive Development," NBER Working Papers 3536, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. repec:mpr:mprres:1014 is not listed on IDEAS
  13. Rebecca A. Maynard & Richard J. Murnane, 1979. "The Effects of a Negative Income Tax on School Performance: Results of an Experiment," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 14(4), pages 463-476.
  14. Joseph P. Newhouse, 1992. "Medical Care Costs: How Much Welfare Loss?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 6(3), pages 3-21, Summer.
  15. Currie, Janet & Cole, Nancy, 1993. "Welfare and Child Health: The Link between AFDC Participation and Birth Weight," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(4), pages 971-85, September.
  16. repec:pri:indrel:dsp01rv042t06t is not listed on IDEAS
  17. Barbara H. Kehrer & Charles M. Wolin, 1979. "Impact of Income Maintenance on Low Birth Weight: Evidence from the Gary Experiment," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 14(4), pages 434-462.
  18. 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.
  19. Sonalde Desai & P. Chase-Lansdale & Robert Michael, 1989. "Mother or Market? Effects of Maternal Employment on the Intellectual Ability of 4-Year-Old Children," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 26(4), pages 545-561, November.
  20. Gottschalk, Peter, 1990. "AFDC Participation across Generations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(2), pages 367-71, May.
  21. Philip K. Robins, 1985. "A Comparison of the Labor Supply Findings from the Four Negative Income Tax Experiments," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 20(4), pages 567-582.
  22. Janet Currie & Duncan Thomas, 1993. "Medicaid and Medical Care for Children," NBER Working Papers 4284, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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