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Profiles and Transitions of Groups at Risk of Social Exclusion: Lone Parents


  • Kapsalis, Constantine
  • Tourigny, Pierre


This study attempts to answer the following basic question: why do some lone parents escape low income or never enter spells of low income or social assistance (SA), while others remain in low income or on SA for many years? The analysis relies on the 1993-98 longitudinal panel of the Survey of Labour and Income Dynamics (SLID). The main focus is lone mothers, since they account for 93% of low income lone parents. The results make somewhat of a case for investing more in education. However, this is not conclusive. Many lone mothers who are in low income or SA recipients have a post-secondary certification. Also, a higher level of education does not seem to have any benefits in terms of shortening SA spells. The fact that half of new SA recipients exit within the first two years suggest that policies should be well targeted. However, waiting for several years to ascertain who are long term recipients is not the best targeting strategy. Not only is valuable time wasted, but there is evidence that the longer individuals stay on SA, the more difficult it is to exit. A better strategy is to keep probing the characteristics of SA recipients that are associated with long spells and develop programs that are targeted to those characteristics. And since lack of paid work or limited attachment to paid work are common factors among the low income and SA recipients, the main focus should be on providing employment services (such as referrals and employment counseling), coupled with a more generous treatment of earnings under SA and wage subsidies to those able to work a significant number of paid hours.

Suggested Citation

  • Kapsalis, Constantine & Tourigny, Pierre, 2002. "Profiles and Transitions of Groups at Risk of Social Exclusion: Lone Parents," MPRA Paper 25751, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:25751

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Kapsalis, C.Finnie, R., 1998. "The Connection Between Literacy and Work: Implications for Social Assistance Recipients," Papers r-98-1e, Gouvernement du Canada - Human Resources Development.
    2. Picot, Garnett & Pyper, Wendy & Zyblock, Miles, 1999. "Why Do Children Move into and out of Low Income: Changing Labour Market Conditions or Marriage and Divorce," Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series 1999132e, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch.
    3. Allen, Douglas W, 1993. "Welfare and the Family: The Canadian Experience," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 11(1), pages 201-223, January.
    4. Kapsalis, Costa, 2001. "An Assessment of EI and SA Reporting in SLID," Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series 2001166e, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch.
    5. Corak, Miles & Heisz, Andrew, 1995. "The Duration of Unemployment: A User Guide," Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series 1995084e, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch.
    6. Michael Charette & Ronald Meng, 1994. "The Determinants of Welfare Participation of Female Heads of Household in Canada," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 27(2), pages 290-306, May.
    7. Hatfield, M., 1997. "Concentrations of Poverty and Distressed Neighbourhoods in Canada," Papers w-97-1e, Gouvernement du Canada - Human Resources Development.
    8. Kapsalis, Constantine, 1999. "Social Assistance and the Employment Rate of Lone Mothers: An Analysis of Ontario's Live Experiment," MPRA Paper 25951, University Library of Munich, Germany.
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    More about this item


    lone mothers; welfare; social assistance;

    JEL classification:

    • I3 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty


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