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The Effects of Work-Conditioned Transfers on Marriage and Child Well-Being: A Review

  • Jeffrey Grogger
  • Lynn A. Karoly

Transfer payments to poor families are increasingly conditioned on work, either via wage subsidies available only to workers or via work requirements in more traditional welfare programs. Although the effects of such programs on employment are fairly well understood, relatively little is known about their effects on marriage or child well-being. The authors review a small number of studies that provide such information here. Their discussion of marriage is couched in terms of a theoretical model that draws from the efficient-household literature. The model is consistent with the wide range of effects that they observe and suggests an explanation for some of the observed differences. The theoretical framework in which they couch their review of results on children is likewise consistent with the observed variation between programs and among children of different ages.

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Paper provided by RAND Corporation Publications Department in its series Working Papers with number 531.

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Length: 51 pages
Date of creation: Aug 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ran:wpaper:531
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  1. Robert A. Moffitt, 2003. "Introduction to "Means-Tested Transfer Programs in the United States"," NBER Chapters, in: Means-Tested Transfer Programs in the United States, pages 1-14 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Francesconi, Marco & Rainer, Helmut & van der Klaauw, Wilbert, 2007. "The Effects of In-Work Benefit Reform in Britain on Couples: Theory and Evidence," IZA Discussion Papers 2980, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Moffitt, Robert, 1990. "The effect of the U.S. welfare system on marital status," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 101-124, February.
  4. Elizabeth Clark-Kauffman & Greg J. Duncan & Pamela Morris, 2003. "How Welfare Policies Affect Child and Adolescent Achievement," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(2), pages 299-303, May.
  5. Robert A. Moffitt, 2003. "Means-Tested Transfer Programs in the United States," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number moff03-1, 07.
  6. V. Joseph Hotz & John Karl Scholz, 2001. "The Earned Income Tax Credit," NBER Working Papers 8078, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Marianne P. Bitler & Jonah B. Gelbach & Hilary W. Hoynes & Madeline Zavodny, 2004. "The Impact of Welfare Reform on Marriage and Divorce," Working Papers 110, RAND Corporation Publications Department.
  8. Gary S. Becker, 1981. "A Treatise on the Family," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number beck81-1, 07.
  9. Hilary Hoynes, 1993. "Welfare Transfers in Two-Parent Families: Labor Supply and Welfare Participation Under AFDC-UP," NBER Working Papers 4407, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Marco Francesconi & Wilbert van der Klaauw, 2007. "The Socioeconomic Consequences of "In-Work" Benefit Reform for British Lone Mothers," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 42(1).
  11. Becker, Gary S & Tomes, Nigel, 1976. "Child Endowments and the Quantity and Quality of Children," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 84(4), pages S143-62, August.
  12. Chiappori, Pierre-Andre, 1992. "Collective Labor Supply and Welfare," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(3), pages 437-67, June.
  13. T. Paul Schultz, 1994. "Marital Status and Fertility in the United States: Welfare and Labor Market Effects," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 29(2), pages 637-669.
  14. Kristen Harknett & Lisa Gennetian, 2003. "How an earnings supplement can affect union formation among low-income single mothers," Demography, Springer, vol. 40(3), pages 451-478, August.
  15. Williamson Hoyne, Hilary, 1997. "Does welfare play any role in female headship decisions?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(2), pages 89-117, August.
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