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The Impact of Welfare Reform Across Metropolitan and Nonmetropolitan Areas: A Nonparametric Analysis


  • Bradford Mills
  • Jeffrey R. Alwang
  • Gautam Hazarika


Recent welfare reform initiatives aimed at moving recipients off welfare and into the workforce represent the most important change in United States social welfare policy in recent decades. Concerns have been raised that nonmetropolitan heads of single-female families with children, the primary recipients of welfare payments, may experience greater difficulties in transiting from welfare to work and be more negatively affected by reform measures. Changes in the economic well-being of nonmetropolitan and metropolitan single female-headed families with children are examined in this paper using a kernel density estimator. The results show that the well-being of both nonmetropolitan and metropolitan families has increased since the implementation of reform measures. Further, density re-weighting methods show that increased education levels of family heads and strengthening of area economic conditions explain more of observed gains in the economic well-being of nonmetropolitan single female-headed families with children than recent welfare policy reforms.

Suggested Citation

  • Bradford Mills & Jeffrey R. Alwang & Gautam Hazarika, 2000. "The Impact of Welfare Reform Across Metropolitan and Nonmetropolitan Areas: A Nonparametric Analysis," JCPR Working Papers 183, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:wop:jopovw:183

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. DiNardo, John & Fortin, Nicole M & Lemieux, Thomas, 1996. "Labor Market Institutions and the Distribution of Wages, 1973-1992: A Semiparametric Approach," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(5), pages 1001-1044, September.
    2. Timothy J. Bartik, 1998. "The Labor Supply Effects of Welfare Reform," Upjohn Working Papers and Journal Articles 98-53, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.
    3. 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.
    4. repec:cup:etheor:v:8:y:1992:i:4:p:476-88 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Marron, J.S. & Schmitz, H.-P., 1992. "Simultaneous Density Estimation of Several Income Distributions," Econometric Theory, Cambridge University Press, vol. 8(04), pages 476-488, December.
    6. J. P. Ziliak & D. N. Figlio & E. E. Davis & L. S. Connolly, "undated". "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.
    7. Jill L. Findeis & Leif Jensen, 1998. "Employment Opportunities in Rural Areas: Implications for Poverty in a Changing Policy Environment," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 80(5), pages 1000-1007.
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    Cited by:

    1. Haddad, Lawrence James & Adato, Michelle, 2001. "How effectively do public works programs transfer benefits to the poor?," FCND discussion papers 108, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).

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