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Dynamic Properties of the Welfare Caseload

  • Steven Haider
  • Jacob Alex Klerman

The welfare caseload evolves through a process of flows onto and off of welfare that can be described with a Markov Chain model. Using formal results for Markov models, this paper examines the dynamic properties of the welfare caseload. In particular, the authors examine steady states, the speed of convergence, and the relative importance of entry and exit for changes in the caseload. Implementing these models with administrative data for California, the authors find that the welfare caseload has considerable momentum and that adjustments are far from instantaneous. In addition, the authors find that changes in the entry rate are empirically more important than changes in the exit rate for explaining changes in the overall caseload. These findings have considerable implications for the conventional methods that are used to study the changing caseload.

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File URL: http://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/drafts/2008/DRU3005.pdf
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Paper provided by RAND Corporation Publications Department in its series Working Papers with number 03-08.

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Length: 32 pages
Date of creation: Apr 2003
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ran:wpaper:03-08
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  1. Jeffrey Grogger & Steven Haider & Jacob Klerman & Elizabeth Roth, 2003. "The Relationship Between the Economy and the Welfare Caseload: A Dynamic Approach," Working Papers 03-06, RAND Corporation Publications Department.
  2. Rebecca M. Blank, 2001. "What Causes Public Assistance Caseloads to Grow?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 36(1), pages 85-118.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Jeffrey Grogger & Steven J. Haider & Jacob Alex Klerman, 2003. "Why Did the Welfare Rolls Fall During the 1990s? The Importance of Entry," Working Papers 03-07, RAND Corporation Publications Department.
  6. 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.
  7. Robert M. Hutchens, 1981. "Entry and Exit Transitions in a Government Transfer Program: The Case of Aid to Families with Dependent Children," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 16(2), pages 217-237.
  8. Hilary Williamson Hoynes, 2000. "Local Labor Markets And Welfare Spells: Do Demand Conditions Matter?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 82(3), pages 351-368, August.
  9. Rebecca M. Blank, 2002. "Evaluating Welfare Reform in the United States," NBER Working Papers 8983, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Michael J. Boskin & Frederick C. Nold, 1975. "A Markov Model of Turnover in Aid to Families with Dependent Children," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 10(4), pages 467-481.
  11. 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.
  12. J. P. Ziliak & D. N. Figlio & E. E. Davis & L. S. Connolly, . "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.
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