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Making Single Mothers Work: Recent Tax and Welfare Policy and its Effects

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  • Bruce D. Meyer
  • Dan T. Rosenbaum

Abstract

We describe the enormous changes in social and tax policy in recent years that have encouraged work by single mothers. We document the changes in federal and state income taxes, AFDC and Food Stamp benefits, Medicaid, training and child care programs. We describe the quantitative importance of these changes and their timing. We also describe how these changes differed across states and show how they affected families with different numbers and ages of children and with different family incomes. We then examine whether the changes in employment rates over time for different demographic groups and states are consistent with a causal effect of these policies on employment. We use multiple comparison groups and two datasets over a long time period. The results support the more structural findings in Meyer and Rosenbaum (1999a) of substantial EITC effects on employment as well as the findings in Eissa and Liebman (1996) and Ellwood (1999).

Suggested Citation

  • Bruce D. Meyer & Dan T. Rosenbaum, 2000. "Making Single Mothers Work: Recent Tax and Welfare Policy and its Effects," NBER Working Papers 7491, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:7491
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    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. 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, President and Fellows of Harvard College, vol. 116(3), pages 1063-1114.
    3. Stacy Dickert & Scott Houser & John Karl Scholz, 1995. "The Earned Income Tax Credit and Transfer Programs: A Study of Labor Market and Program Participation," NBER Chapters, in: Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 9, pages 1-50, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Jeffrey B. Liebman, 1998. "The Impact of the Earned Income Tax Credit on Incentives and Income Distribution," NBER Chapters, in: Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 12, pages 83-120, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. N. Eissa & H. W. Hoynes, "undated". "The Earned Income Tax Credit and the Labor Supply of Married Couples," Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers 1194-99, University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty.
    6. Henry S. Farber & Helen Levy, 1998. "Recent Trends in Employer-Sponsored Health Insurance Coverage: Are Bad Jobs Getting Worse?," Working Papers 781, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
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    8. Rebecca M. Blank, 1997. "Policy Watch: The 1996 Welfare Reform," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(1), pages 169-177, Winter.
    9. Henry S. Farber & Helen Levy, 1998. "Recent Trends in Employer-Sponsored Health Insurance Coverage: Are Bad Jobs Getting Worse?," Working Papers 781, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
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    11. V. Joseph Hotz, 2003. "The Earned Income Tax Credit," NBER Chapters, in: Means-Tested Transfer Programs in the United States, pages 141-198, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H24 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Personal Income and Other Nonbusiness Taxes and Subsidies
    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs

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