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The Clinton Legacy for America's Poor

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  • Rebecca M. Blank
  • David T. Ellwood

Abstract

This paper examines the impact of Clinton era social policy changes on the poor. It explores shifts in incentives, behavior, and incomes and discusses the role Clinton did or did not play in influencing the policy mix and the nature of the political debate surrounding poverty. Policy changes included a radical shift in welfare policy, a sizable expansion in supports for low income workers with children, new child support enforcement measures, more restricted support for immigrants, and altered housing policies. Partly as a result of these policies, but also in part due to the strong economy, welfare use plummeted, work rose dramatically among single parents, and poverty was reduced. At the same time, there are indications that some families are doing worse than before and that some working families are not getting health and food benefits to which they are entitled. Significant questions remain about what will happen to poor families in the next recession.

Suggested Citation

  • Rebecca M. Blank & David T. Ellwood, 2001. "The Clinton Legacy for America's Poor," NBER Working Papers 8437, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:8437
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    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. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. Jeffrey Grogger, 2004. "Time Limits and Welfare Use," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(2).
    5. Rebecca M. Blank & David Card & Philip K. Robins, 1999. "Financial Incentives for Increasing Work and Income Among Low-Income Families," JCPR Working Papers 69, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
    6. Nada Eissa & Jeffrey B. Liebman, 1996. "Labor Supply Response to the Earned Income Tax Credit," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 111(2), pages 605-637.
    7. J. P. Ziliak & D. N. Figlio & E. E. Davis & L. S. Connolly, "undated". "Accounting for the Decline in AFDC Caseloads: Welfare Reform or Economic Growth?," Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers 1151-97, University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty.
    8. Leslie E. Papke, 1993. "What Do We Know about Enterprise Zones?," NBER Chapters,in: Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 7, pages 37-72 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Schoeni, R.F. & Blank, R.M., 2000. "What Has Welfare Reform Accomplished? Impacts on Welfare Participation, Employment, Income, Poverty, and Family Structure," Papers 00-02, RAND - Labor and Population Program.
    10. 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.
    11. Ellwood, David T., 2000. "The Impact of the Earned Income Tax Credit and Social Policy Reforms on Work, Marriage, and Living Arrangements," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 53(n. 4), pages 1063-1106, December.
    12. David T. Ellwood, 2001. "The Sputtering Labor Force of the 21st Century. Can Social Policy Help?," NBER Working Papers 8321, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. James P. Ziliak & David N. Figlio & Elizabeth E. Davis & Laura S. Connolly, 2000. "Accounting for the Decline in AFDC Caseloads: Welfare Reform or the Economy?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 35(3), pages 570-586.
    14. Schoeni, R.F. & Blank, R.M., 2000. "What Has Welfare Reform Accomplished? Impacts on Welfare Participation, Employment, Income, Poverty, and Family Structure," Papers 00-02, RAND - Labor and Population Program.
    15. Rebecca M. Blank, 1999. "What Goes Up Must Come Down? Explaining Recent Changes in Public Assistance Caseloads," JCPR Working Papers 78, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
    16. Quigley, John M., 2002. "A Decent Home: Housing Policy in Perspective," Berkeley Program on Housing and Urban Policy, Working Paper Series qt8f57x42q, Berkeley Program on Housing and Urban Policy.
    17. David Neumark, 1999. "The Employment Effects of Recent Minimum Wage Increases: Evidence from a Pre-specified Research Design," NBER Working Papers 7171, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    18. Robert A. Moffitt, 1999. "The Effect of Pre-PRWORA Waivers on AFDC Caseloads and Female Earnings, Income, and Labor Force Behavior," JCPR Working Papers 89, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
    19. Jacob A. Klerman & Steven J. Haider, 2001. "A Stock-Flow Analysis of the Welfare Caseload: Insights from California Economic Conditions," Working Papers 01-02, RAND Corporation.
    20. Ellwood, David T., 2000. "The Impact of the Earned Income Tax Credit and Social Policy Reforms on Work, Marriage, and Living Arrangements," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 53(4), pages 1063-1106, December.
    21. David N. Figlio & James P. Ziliak, 1999. "Welfare Reform, the Business Cycle, and the Decline in AFDC Caseloads," JCPR Working Papers 77, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
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    Cited by:

    1. Jeffrey R. Kling & Jeffrey B. Liebman & Lawrence F. Katz & Lisa Sanbonmatsu, 2004. "Moving to Opportuntiy and Tranquility: Neighborhood Effects on Adult Economic Self-sufficiency and Health from a Randomized Housing Voucher Experiment," Working Papers 247, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Health and Wellbeing..
    2. Berthold, Norbert & von Berchem, Sascha, 2002. "Sozialhilfe im wettbewerblichen Föderalismus: Erfahrungen der USA, Lehren für Deutschland," Discussion Paper Series 58, Julius Maximilian University of Würzburg, Chair of Economic Order and Social Policy.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I3 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty
    • H5 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies

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