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Did Expanding Medicaid Affect Welfare Participation?

  • John C. Ham
  • Lara D. Shore-Sheppard

Using data from the 1988-1996 Current Population Surveys (CPS), we re-examine the evidence presented in Yelowitz (1995) showing that expansions in Medicaid eligibility for children were associated with increased labor force participation and reduced participation in Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) among single mothers. We find that Yelowitz's results were the result of two factors. First, he imposed a strong restriction on the parameter estimates that is not predicted by theory and is rejected in the CPS data. Second, he used only one of the two income tests that families must pass to be eligible for AFDC, resulting in higher imputed AFDC breakeven income levels for larger families. Once these problems are addressed, the Medicaid income limits have no significant effect on AFDC participation. The AFDC income limits, however, are significantly related to welfare and labor force participation in both his original sample and the entire 1988-1996 sample.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w9803.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 9803.

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Date of creation: Jun 2003
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Publication status: published as John C. Ham & Lara D. Shore-Sheppard, 2005. "Did Expanding Medicaid Affect Welfare Participation?," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 58(3), pages 452-470, April.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9803
Note: HE CH
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  1. David M. Cutler & Jonathan Gruber, 1995. "Does Public Insurance Crowd Out Private Insurance?," NBER Working Papers 5082, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Bruce D. Meyer & Dan T. Rosenbaum, 1999. "Welfare, the Earned Income Tax Credit, and the Labor Supply of Single Mothers," NBER Working Papers 7363, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Moffitt, Robert & Wolfe, Barbara L, 1992. "The Effect of the Medicaid Program on Welfare Participation and Labor Supply," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 74(4), pages 615-26, November.
  4. Anne E. Winkler, 1991. "The Incentive Effects of Medicaid on Women's Labor Supply," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 26(2), pages 308-337.
  5. Rebecca M. Blank, 1989. "The Effect of Medical Need and Medicaid on AFDC Participation," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 24(1), pages 54-87.
  6. Aaron Yelowitz, 1995. "The Medicaid Notch, Labor Supply and Welfare Participation: Evidence from Eligibility Expansions," UCLA Economics Working Papers 738, UCLA Department of Economics.
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