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Are Lone Mothers Responsive to Policy Changes? The Effects of a Norwegian Workfare Reform on Earnings, Education, and Poverty

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Abstract

The generous Nordic model of welfare is commonly viewed as an exceptional success both in terms of equality and economic growth. However, it has recently become evident that subgroups of the population with weak labour market attachment and high welfare dependency, such as lone mothers, were vastly overrepresented among the poor. This motivated a workfare reform of the Norwegian welfare system for lone mothers; activity requirements were introduced, time limits imposed, and benefit levels raised. To evaluate the welfare reform we introduce an estimator that, unlike the much used difference-in-difference approach, accounts for the fact that policy changes are typically phased in gradually rather than coming into full effect at once. We find that the workfare reform did not only increase earnings and education as well as lower welfare caseloads and by this route ease the financial burden of the government, but also reduced poverty.

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  • Chiara Pronzato & Magne Mogstad, 2008. "Are Lone Mothers Responsive to Policy Changes? The Effects of a Norwegian Workfare Reform on Earnings, Education, and Poverty," Discussion Papers 533, Statistics Norway, Research Department.
  • Handle: RePEc:ssb:dispap:533
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    Cited by:

    1. Chiara Daniela Pronzato, 2015. "Fighting Lone Mothers’ Poverty Through In-Work Benefits: Methodological Issues and Policy Suggestions," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, vol. 61(1), pages 95-122.
    2. Pronzato, Chiara D., 2012. "Comparing Quasi-Experimental Designs and Structural Models for Policy Evaluation: The Case of a Reform of Lone Parental Welfare," IZA Discussion Papers 6803, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Welfare reform; lone mothers; difference-in-difference; workfare; activity requirements; time limits; earnings; education; poverty;

    JEL classification:

    • C23 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Spatio-temporal Models
    • I32 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Measurement and Analysis of Poverty
    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs
    • J00 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General - - - General

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