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Welfare-to-Work Policy: Employer Hiring and Retention of Former Welfare Recipients

  • Julia Lane
  • David Stevens

The focus of the new U.S. welfare reform legislation is to move welfare recipients into jobs. There is widespread agreement that at least three components of this transition should be reflected in the measurement of a state's performance with respect to this objective: The percent of eligible TANF recipients who begin work; The percent of those beginning work who retain that job; and The quality of the jobs represented in (1) and (2) above. This papers addresses two issues raised by these challenges. In particular, we use administrative records to identify which industries primarily hire former welfare recipients (incidence) as well as the observable characteristics of hiring entities in addressing objective. We discuss whether there is firm specific persistence in the hiring of welfare recipients to address issue. Finally we measure job quality by both how long the job lasted and whether the recipient returned to AFDC rolls to address issue (3). The particular database used consists of confidential unit-records that includes all employment and earnings information reported by one state's employers who are required to submit such quarterly reports to comply with the state's unemployment compensation law.

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Paper provided by Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research in its series JCPR Working Papers with number 19.

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Date of creation: 01 Mar 2000
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Handle: RePEc:wop:jopovw:19
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  1. Steven J. Davis & John C. Haltiwanger & Scott Schuh, 1998. "Job Creation and Destruction," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262540932, June.
  2. H. J. Holzer, . "Employer Demand, AFDC Recipients, and Labor Market Policy," Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers 1115-96, University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty.
  3. Krueger, Alan B & Summers, Lawrence H, 1988. "Efficiency Wages and the Inter-industry Wage Structure," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(2), pages 259-93, March.
  4. Lane, Julia & Stevens, David, 1995. "Family, Work, and Welfare History: Work and Welfare Outcomes," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(2), pages 266-70, May.
  5. John M. Abowd & Francis Kramarz & David N. Margolis, 1999. "High Wage Workers and High Wage Firms," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 67(2), pages 251-334, March.
  6. Hamermesh, Daniel S., 1999. "LEEping into the future of labor economics: the research potential of linking employer and employee data," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(1), pages 25-41, March.
  7. Kremer, M & Maskin, E, 1996. "Wage Inequality and Segregation by Skill," Working papers 96-23, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  8. Burgess, Simon & Lane, Julia & Stevens, David, 2000. "Job Flows, Worker Flows, and Churning," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 18(3), pages 473-502, July.
  9. Abowd, John M. & Kramarz, Francis, 1999. "The analysis of labor markets using matched employer-employee data," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 40, pages 2629-2710 Elsevier.
  10. Gibbons, R. & Katz, L., 1989. "Does Unmeasured Ability Explain Inter-Industry Wage Differences," Working papers 543, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  11. Michael Kremer & Eric Maskin, 1996. "Wage Inequality and Segregation," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1777, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  12. Lane, Julia & Stevens, David & Burgess, Simon, 1996. "Worker and job flows," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 51(1), pages 109-113, April.
  13. Timothy J. Bartik, 1997. "Short-Term Employment Persistence for Welfare Recipients: The "Effects" of Wages, Industry, Occupation and Firm," Upjohn Working Papers and Journal Articles 97-46, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.
  14. Kremer, Michael, 1993. "The O-Ring Theory of Economic Development," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 108(3), pages 551-75, August.
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