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Barriers to the Employment of Welfare Recipients

  • Sandra K. Danziger
  • Mary Corcoran
  • Sheldon Danziger
  • Colleen M. Heflin
  • Ariel Kalil
  • Judith Levine
  • Daniel Rosen
  • Kristin S. Seefeldt
  • Kristine Siefert
  • Richard M. Tolman
Registered author(s):

    Using a new survey of a representative sample of single mothers who were welfare recipients in an urban Michigan county, the authors explore how certain employment barriers, often ignored by previous welfare researchers and policy makers, constrain these single mothers' employability. The results the authors present show that welfare recipients in the sample have unusually high levels of some barriers to work, such as physical and mental health problems, domestic violence, and lack of transportation, but relatively low levels of other barriers, such as drug or alcohol dependence and lack of understanding work norms. The authors also show that most recipients have multiple barriers and that the number of barriers is strongly and negatively associated with employment status. In addition, the authors find that an expanded regression model that includes these barriers is a significantly better predictor of employment than is a model that only includes variables traditionally measured, such as education, work experience and welfare history. The authors conclude with a discussion of the implications of these results for understanding the employment and post-welfare experiences of single mothers and for reforming welfare-to-work policies.

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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 90.

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    Date of creation: 01 May 1999
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    Handle: RePEc:wop:jopovw:90
    Contact details of provider: Postal: Harris Graduate School of Public Policy Studies, 1155 E. 60th Street Chicago, IL 60637
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    Web page: http://www.jcpr.org/wp/ByDate.html
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    1. Daniel Immergluck, 1996. "What employers want: Job prospects for less-educated workers," The Review of Black Political Economy, Springer, vol. 24(4), pages 135-143, June.
    2. Barbara L. Wolfe & Steven C. Hill, 1995. "The Effect of Health on the Work Effort of Single Mothers," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 30(1), pages 42-62.
    3. B. Wolfe & S. C. Hill, . "The effect of health on the work effort of low-income single mothers," Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers 979-92, University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty.
    4. J. P. Ziliak & D. N. Figlio & E. E. Davis & L. S. Connolly, . "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.
    5. H. J. Holzer, . "Will Employers Hire Welfare Recipients? Recent Survey Evidence from Michigan," Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers 1177-98, University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty.
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