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Changing Caseloads: Macro Influences and Micro Composition

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  • Robert A. Moffitt
  • David Stevens

Abstract

Studies of the types of women who are still on the welfare rolls, subsequent to welfare reform, are less common than studies of the types of women who have left the rolls. The conventional wisdom is that more skilled women have left the rolls and therefore that less skilled women remain on welfare, implying that the welfare caseload should be becoming increasingly disadvantaged. However, the provisions of the 1996 welfare legislation have mixed predictions for whether this should be expected to occur, for while some provisions should lead to more disadvantaged women remaining on the rolls, other provisions, perhaps surprisingly, should lead to less disadvantaged women remaining on. Estimating the effect of welfare reform on this type of caseload composition is complicated by the simultaneous improvement in the economy as well as long term trends in welfare recipient characteristics. An analysis of Current Population Survey (CPS) data, administrative data from the state of Maryland, and a review of other studies leads to the conclusion that, after netting out the effect of the economy, there is no strong evidence that welfare reform per se has been selective in who has left the rolls and who has stayed on with respect to labor market skill: there is no strong evidence that the welfare caseload is becoming less skilled. Moreover, the results suggest that both more skilled and less skilled women can be found both on and off TANF, and therefore that new policies should be aimed to assist women in multiple situations.

Suggested Citation

  • Robert A. Moffitt & David Stevens, 2001. "Changing Caseloads: Macro Influences and Micro Composition," JCPR Working Papers 218, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:wop:jopovw:218
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Susan E Mayer, 2000. "Why Welfare Caseloads Fluctuate: A Review of Research on AFDC, SSI, and the Food Stamps Program," Treasury Working Paper Series 00/07, New Zealand Treasury.
    2. Robert A. Moffitt & LaDonna Pavetti, 1999. "Time Limits," JCPR Working Papers 91, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
    3. Schoeni, R.F. & Blank, R.M., 2000. "What Has Welfare Reform Accomplished? Impacts on Welfare Participation, Employment, Income, Poverty, and Family Structure," Papers 00-02, RAND - Labor and Population Program.
    4. Robert A. Moffitt, 1996. "The effect of employment and training programs on entry and exit from the welfare caseload," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 15(1), pages 32-50.
    5. Sheldon Danziger, 2000. "Approaching the Limit: Early Lessons from Welfare Reform," JCPR Working Papers 195, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
    6. Schoeni, R.F. & Blank, R.M., 2000. "What Has Welfare Reform Accomplished? Impacts on Welfare Participation, Employment, Income, Poverty, and Family Structure," Papers 00-02, RAND - Labor and Population Program.
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    Cited by:

    1. Robert A. Moffitt, 2003. "The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program," NBER Chapters,in: Means-Tested Transfer Programs in the United States, pages 291-364 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Marianne P. Bitler & Jonah B. Gelbach & Hilary W. Hoynes, 2006. "Welfare Reform and Children's Living Arrangements," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 41(1).
    3. Peter R. Mueser & Kenneth Troske & William J. Carrington, 2002. "The Impact of Welfare Reform on Leaver Characteristics, Employment and Recidivism," Working Papers 0205, Department of Economics, University of Missouri, revised 26 Aug 2002.
    4. Peter R. Mueser & Kenneth R. Troske & David R. Stevens, 2007. "The Impact of Welfare Reform on Leaver Characteristics, Employment and Recidivism: An Analysis of Maryland and Missouri," Working Papers 0720, Department of Economics, University of Missouri.
    5. Luis Ayala & Magdalena Rodríguez, "undated". "Multiple Ocurrence Of Welfare Recipiency: Determinants And Policy Implications," Working Papers 13-04 Classification-JEL , Instituto de Estudios Fiscales.

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