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