The Effect of the 1981 Welfare Reforms on AFDC Participation and Labor Supply
From 1992 to 1995, forty states applied for federal waivers in order to test new welfare reforms. About 80 percent of these waiver applications included expansions of earnings disregards and asset limits for welfare recipients. These changes would effectively reverse the changes imposed by the 1981 Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (OBRA81), which significantly restricted eligibility and reduced earnings disregards for working recipients. Hence an understanding of the effects of OBRA81 can be helpful in predicting the effects of new welfare reform proposals. This paper presents empirical estimates of the labor supply and AFDC participation effects of the individual components of OBRA81. Estimates are obtained from a discrete-choice maximum likelihood model in which female heads of household choose among six welfare/work combinations: on or off welfare together with zero, half-time, or full-time work. The paper focuses on estimation of parameters that define the utility of leisure and of welfare participation. Estimates are obtained from a sample of 2462 female heads of household from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID), covering the years 1978 to 1984. The changes imposed by OBRA81 are explicitly accounted for in the budget set, as are the decline in real benefits, changes in the federal tax system, and the interaction of AFDC and Food Stamps. Estimated utility parameters are used to decompose the individual effects of the 1981 reforms. Descriptive evidence shows that the overall effect of the legislation was to reduce participation by about 8 percent and cut the incidence of working recipiency by more than 40 percent. Simulations based on structural parameters suggest that lower real needs and payment standards reduced AFDC eligibility and participation by more than the OBRA81 changes combined. An important result is that for many recipients, the share of Food Stamps in total income increased as real AFDC benefits declined. Hence the Food Stamps program played an important role over this period in preventing the well-being of welfare recipients from eroding more than it did. Estimated utility parameters are also used to predict the effects of hypothetical policy changes. Lower payment standards cause some recipients to leave welfare and others to increase their work effort. Working recipiency is significantly encouraged by lower benefit-reduction rates, but this effect is offset by lower labor supply among women drawn on to AFDC. Finally, the AFDC participation choice is quite responsive to wage levels, but increasing wages would have only a small effect on working recipiency in the absence of higher disregards.
|Date of creation:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: 3412 Social Science Building, 1180 Observatory Drive, Madison, WI 53706|
Phone: (608) 262-6358
Fax: (608) 265-3119
Web page: http://www.ssc.wisc.edu/irp/dp/dplist.htm
More information through EDIRC
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Moffitt, Robert, 1992. "Incentive Effects of the U.S. Welfare System: A Review," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 30(1), pages 1-61, March.
- Fraker, Thomas & Moffitt, Robert, 1988.
"The effect of food stamps on labor supply : A bivariate selection model,"
Journal of Public Economics,
Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 25-56, February.
- Thomas Fraker & Robert Moffitt, 1988. "The Effect of Food Stamps on Labor Supply: A Bivariate Selection Model," Mathematica Policy Research Reports efa52cc812a34ce2ac0427b91, Mathematica Policy Research.
- Keane, Michael & Moffitt, Robert, 1998. "A Structural Model of Multiple Welfare Program Participation and Labor Supply," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 39(3), pages 553-589, August.
- M. Keane & R. Moffitt, "undated". "A structural model of multiple welfare program participation and labor supply," Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers 1080-96, University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty.
- Michael P. Keane & Robert A. Moffitt, 1995. "A structural model of multiple welfare program participation and labor supply," Working Papers 557, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
- M. Keane & R. Mofitt, 1995. "A Structural Model of Multiple Welfare Program Participation and Labor Supply," Working Papers 95-4, Brown University, Department of Economics.
- Hoynes, Hilary Williamson, 1996. "Welfare Transfers in Two-Parent Families: Labor Supply and Welfare Participation under AFDC-UP," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(2), pages 295-332, March.
- Hilary Hoynes, 1993. "Welfare Transfers in Two-Parent Families: Labor Supply and Welfare Participation Under AFDC-UP," NBER Working Papers 4407, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Moffitt, Robert, 1983. "An Economic Model of Welfare Stigma," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(5), pages 1023-1035, December.
- Rebecca M. Blank & Patricia Ruggles, 1993. "When Do Women Use AFDC & Food Stamps? The Dynamics of Eligibility vs. Participation," NBER Working Papers 4429, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Danziger, Sheldon & Haveman, Robert & Plotnick, Robert, 1981. "How Income Transfer Programs Affect Work, Savings, and the Income Distribution: A Critical Review," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 19(3), pages 975-1028, September.
- Thomas Fraker & Robert Moffitt & Douglas Wolf, 1985. "Effective Tax Rates and Guarantees in the AFDC Program, 1967-1982," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 20(2), pages 251-263.
- Arthur van Soest, 1995. "Structural Models of Family Labor Supply: A Discrete Choice Approach," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 30(1), pages 63-88. Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:wop:wispod:1117-97. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Thomas Krichel)
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.