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Children's Welfare Exposure and Subsequent Development

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  • Phillip B. Levine
  • David J. Zimmerman

Abstract

We examine the extent to which children are exposed to the welfare system through their mother's receipt of benefits and its impact on several developmental outcomes. Using data from the matched mother-child file from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY), we find that children's welfare exposure is substantial. By age 10, over one-third of all children will have lived in a welfare household; black, non-Hispanic children face a much higher rate of exposure. Simple correlations suggest a strong negative relationship between maternal welfare receipt and children's outcomes. In this paper, we implement three alternative strategies (instrumental variables, sibling difference, and child fixed-effects models) designed to identify whether this correlation can be attributed to the mother's welfare receipt directly or to other characteristics of mothers who receive welfare, regardless of whether those characteristics are observable evidence of any causal link between maternal welfare receipt and children's developmental outcomes.

Suggested Citation

  • Phillip B. Levine & David J. Zimmerman, 2000. "Children's Welfare Exposure and Subsequent Development," JCPR Working Papers 130, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:wop:jopovw:130
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
    2. M. Anne Hill & June O'Neill, 1994. "Family Endowments and the Achievement of Young Children with Special Reference to the Underclass," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 29(4), pages 1064-1100.
    3. Gruber, Jonathan, 2000. "Cash welfare as a consumption smoothing mechanism for divorced mothers," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 75(2), pages 157-182, February.
    4. Currie, Janet & Cole, Nancy, 1993. "Welfare and Child Health: The Link between AFDC Participation and Birth Weight," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(4), pages 971-985, September.
    5. Janet Currie, 1994. "Welfare and the Well-Being of Children: The Relative Effectiveness of Cash and In-Kind Transfers," NBER Chapters,in: Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 8, pages 1-44 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. An, Chong-Bum & Haveman, Robert & Wolfe, Barbara, 1993. "Teen Out-of-Wedlock Births and Welfare Receipt: The Role of Childhood Events and Economic Circumstances," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 75(2), pages 195-208, May.
    7. P. B. Levine & D. J. Zimmerman, "undated". "The intergenerational correlation in AFDC participation: Welfare trap or poverty trap?," Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers 1100-96, University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty.
    8. Antel, John J, 1992. "The Intergenerational Transfer of Welfare Dependency: Some Statistical Evidence," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 74(3), pages 467-473, August.
    9. Gottschalk, Peter, 1990. "AFDC Participation across Generations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(2), pages 367-371, May.
    10. Jonathan Gruber, 1996. "Cash Welfare as a Consumption Smoothing Mechanism for Single Mothers," NBER Working Papers 5738, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Cited by:

    1. Deborah A. Cobb-Clark & Chris Ryan & Ana Sartbayeva, 2009. "Taking Chances: The Effect of Growing Up on Welfare on the Risky Behaviour of Young People," CEPR Discussion Papers 604, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
    2. Tim Maloney & Sholeh Maani & Gail Pacheco, 2003. "Intergenerational Welfare Participation in New Zealand," Australian Economic Papers, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 42(3), pages 346-362, September.
    3. Marco Francesconi & Stephen Jenkins & Thomas Siedler, 2010. "Childhood family structure and schooling outcomes: evidence for Germany," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 23(3), pages 1073-1103, June.
    4. Barón, Juan D. & Cobb-Clark, Deborah A. & Erkal, Nisvan, 2008. "Cultural Transmission of Work-Welfare Attitudes and the Intergenerational Correlation in Welfare Receipt," IZA Discussion Papers 3904, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    5. I. Ku & R. D. Plotnick, "undated". "Do Children from Welfare Families Obtain Less Education?," Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers 1217-00, University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty.
    6. Louis Kaplow, 2007. "Optimal income transfers," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 14(3), pages 295-325, June.
    7. Paroma Sanyal, 2005. "Peanut Butter Patents Versus the New Economy: Does the Increased Rate of Patenting Signal More Invention or Just Lower Standards?," Industrial Organization 0504013, EconWPA.
    8. Corak, Miles, 2001. "Les enfants se portent-ils bien ? Mobilite intergenerationnelle et bien-etre de l'enfant au Canada," Direction des etudes analytiques : documents de recherche 2001171f, Statistics Canada, Direction des etudes analytiques.
    9. Gambardella, Alfonso & Giuri, Paola & Luzzi, Alessandra, 2007. "The market for patents in Europe," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(8), pages 1163-1183, October.
    10. Oscar A. Mitnik, 2007. "Intergenerational transmission of welfare dependency: The effects of length of exposure," Working Papers 0715, University of Miami, Department of Economics.
    11. Osborne, Cynthia & Knab, Jean, 2007. "Work, welfare, and young children's health and behavior in the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 29(6), pages 762-781, June.
    12. Cobb-Clark, Deborah A. & Dahmann, Sarah & Salamanca, Nicolas & Zhu, Anna, 2017. "Intergenerational Disadvantage: Learning about Equal Opportunity from Social Assistance Receipt," IZA Discussion Papers 11070, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    13. Kelly Balistreri, 2010. "Welfare and the Children of Immigrants: Transmission of Dependence or Investment in the Future?," Population Research and Policy Review, Springer;Southern Demographic Association (SDA), vol. 29(5), pages 715-743, October.
    14. Anna Aizer & Shari Eli & Joseph P. Ferrie & Adriana Lleras-Muney, 2014. "The Long Term Impact of Cash Transfers to Poor Families," NBER Working Papers 20103, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    15. Chase-Lansdale, P. Lindsay & Cherlin, Andrew J. & Guttmannova, Katarina & Fomby, Paula & Ribar, David C. & Coley, Rebekah Levine, 2011. "Long-term implications of welfare reform for the development of adolescents and young adults," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 33(5), pages 678-688, May.
    16. Stuart, Graham & Higgins, Matthew, 2007. "The Impact of Patenting on New Product Introductions in the Pharmaceutical Industry," MPRA Paper 4574, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    17. Miles Corak, 2001. "Are the Kids All Right? Intergenerational Mobility and Child Well-being in Canada," The Review of Economic Performance and Social Progress,in: Andrew Sharpe, Executive Director & France St-Hilaire, Vice-President , Research & Keith Banting, Di (ed.), The Review of Economic Performance and Social Progress 2001: The Longest Decade: Canada in the 1990s, volume 1 Centre for the Study of Living Standards;The Institutute for Research on Public Policy.
    18. Anna Christina D'Addio, 2007. "Intergenerational Transmission of Disadvantage: Mobility or Immobility Across Generations?," OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers 52, OECD Publishing.
    19. Eileen Trzcinski & Jerry Brandell, 2002. "Adolescent Outcomes, Poverty Status, and Welfare Reform: An Analysis based on the Survey of Program Dynamics," JCPR Working Papers 269, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
    20. Quinn Moore & Lucie Schmidt, 2004. "Do Maternal Investments in Human Capital Affect Childrens' Academic Achievement?," Department of Economics Working Papers 2004-13, Department of Economics, Williams College.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth

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