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Do workfare participants recover quickly from retrenchment?

  • Ravallion, Martin
  • Galasso, Emanuela
  • Lazo, Teodoro
  • Philipp, Ernesto

What happens to participants in a workfare program--a program that imposes work requirements on welfare recipients--when that program is cut? The authors compare the incomes of workfare participants in Argentina to those of nonparticipants and past participants after a severe contraction in aggregate outlays on the program. The authors find evidence of partial income replacement, such that those who left the program were able to make up one quarter of the gross workfare wage within six months. This rises to half in 12 months. The estimates are unbiased in the presence of time-invariant errors from mismatching in the selection of the comparison group. Fully removing selection bias would probably yield even lower income replacement. Test results based on a second follow-up survey that valid inferences can be drawn about program impacts from the authors'measures of income replacement.

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 2672.

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Date of creation: 30 Sep 2001
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:2672
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  1. James J. Heckman & Jeffrey A. Smith, 1999. "The Pre-Program Earnings Dip and the Determinants of Participation in a Social Program: Implications for Simple Program Evaluation Strategies," NBER Working Papers 6983, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Jalan, Jyotsna & Ravallion, Martin, 1998. "Are there dynamic gains from a poor-area development program?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(1), pages 65-85, January.
  3. James Heckman & Hidehiko Ichimura & Jeffrey Smith & Petra Todd, 1998. "Characterizing Selection Bias Using Experimental Data," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 66(5), pages 1017-1098, September.
  4. Jeffrey Smith & Petra Todd, 2003. "Does Matching Overcome Lalonde's Critique of Nonexperimental Estimators?," University of Western Ontario, CIBC Centre for Human Capital and Productivity Working Papers 20035, University of Western Ontario, CIBC Centre for Human Capital and Productivity.
  5. Heckman, James J & Ichimura, Hidehiko & Todd, Petra E, 1997. "Matching as an Econometric Evaluation Estimator: Evidence from Evaluating a Job Training Programme," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 64(4), pages 605-54, October.
  6. Gruber, Jonathan, 1994. "The Incidence of Mandated Maternity Benefits," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 622-41, June.
  7. Ashenfelter, Orley C, 1978. "Estimating the Effect of Training Programs on Earnings," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 60(1), pages 47-57, February.
  8. Rajeev H. Dehejia & Sadek Wahba, 1998. "Causal Effects in Non-Experimental Studies: Re-Evaluating the Evaluation of Training Programs," NBER Working Papers 6586, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Datt, Gaurav & Ravallion, Martin, 1994. "Transfer Benefits from Public-Works Employment: Evidence for Rural India," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 104(427), pages 1346-69, November.
  10. Jalan, Jyotsna & Ravallion, Martin, 1999. "Income gains to the poor from workfare - estimates for Argentina's TRABAJAR Program," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2149, The World Bank.
  11. Ravallion, 1999. "Monitoring targeting performance when decentralized allocation to the poor are unobserved," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2080, The World Bank.
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