Explaining Welfare Reform: Public Choice and the Labor Market
This paper seeks to identify factors that could plausibly have led to the contractionary welfare reform initiatives begun at the state and federal levels in the United States in the 1990s, initiatives concentrated on the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program. A review of aggregate time-series evidence, cross-sectional regression research, and studies of attitudes toward welfare spending and toward welfare recipients suggests a role for three types of factors. First, a major expansion of the U.S. welfare system in the late 1980s in terms of expenditures and caseloads may have led voters to want to retrench by cutting back on the AFDC program, even though that program was not primarily responsible for the expansion. Second, declines in the relative and absolute levels of household income, wages, and employment rates among the disadvantaged population may have driven up caseloads and costs, increased the social distance of voters from the poor, heightened concern with work incentives, and led, more generally, to a decrease in the perceived “deservingness” of the poor. Third, a surge of births to unmarried mothers in the 1980s is suggested, by cross-sectional and attitudinal evidence, to have led to a reduction in voter support for the AFDC program.
|Date of creation:|
|Date of revision:|
|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
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.:
- Peter Lindert & Wen Hai & Shunli Yao, 2003. "Three Centuries Of Inequality In Britain And America," Working Papers 979, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
- Grossman, Herschel I., 1995. "Robin hood and the redistribution of property income," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 11(3), pages 399-410, September.
- Jason Barabas, 1998. "Wage Erosion, Economic Assessments, and Social Welfare Opinions," JCPR Working Papers 56, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
- Rebecca M. Blank, 2000.
"What Causes Public Assistance Caseloads to Grow?,"
JCPR Working Papers
18, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
- Anne E. Winkler, 1998. "State Experimentation With Time-Limited AFDC Benefits: What Differentiates Reform-Minded States From Others?," Public Finance Review, , vol. 26(2), pages 155-183, March.
- Orr, Larry L, 1976. "Income Transfers as a Public Good: An Application to AFDC," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 66(3), pages 359-71, June.
- Peter Gottschalk & Timothy M. Smeeding, 1997. "Cross-National Comparisons of Earnings and Income Inequality," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 35(2), pages 633-687, June.
- Peltzman, Sam, 1980.
"The Growth of Government,"
Journal of Law and Economics,
University of Chicago Press, vol. 23(2), pages 209-87, October.
- Sam Peltzman, 1980. "The Growth of Government," University of Chicago - George G. Stigler Center for Study of Economy and State 1, Chicago - Center for Study of Economy and State.
- Howard Chernick, 1998. "Fiscal Effects of Block Grants for the Needy: An Interpretation of the Evidence," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 5(2), pages 205-233, May.
- Hall, John & Preston, Ian, 2000. "Tax price effects on attitudes to hypothecated tax increases," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 75(3), pages 417-438, March.
- Robin Boadway & Michael Keen, 1999.
983, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
- Chinhui Juhn & Kevin M. Murphy & Robert H. Topel, 1991. "Why Has the Natural Rate of Unemployment Increased over Time?," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 22(2), pages 75-142.
- Kristov, L. & Lindert, P. & Mcclelland, R., 1990.
"Pressure Groups And Redistribution,"
66, California Davis - Institute of Governmental Affairs.
- Moffitt, Robert & Ribar, David & Wilhelm, Mark, 1998.
"The decline of welfare benefits in the U.S.: the role of wage inequality,"
Journal of Public Economics,
Elsevier, vol. 68(3), pages 421-452, June.
- Robert Moffitt & David Ribar & Mark Wilhelm, 1996. "The Decline of Welfare Benefits in the U.S.: The Role of Wage Inequality," NBER Working Papers 5774, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Robert Moffitt & David Ribar & Mark Wilhelm, 1998. "The Decline of Welfare Benefits in the US: The Role of Wage Inequality," Economics Working Paper Archive 373, The Johns Hopkins University,Department of Economics.
- Lindert, Peter H., 2000.
"Three centuries of inequality in Britain and America,"
Handbook of Income Distribution,
in: A.B. Atkinson & F. Bourguignon (ed.), Handbook of Income Distribution, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 3, pages 167-216
- Peter H. Lindert, . "Three Centuries Of Inequality In Britain And America," Department of Economics 97-09, California Davis - Department of Economics.
- Varian, Hal R., 1980. "Redistributive taxation as social insurance," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(1), pages 49-68, August.
- 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.
- Shroder, Mark, 1995. "Games the States Don't Play: Welfare Benefits and the Theory of Fiscal Federalism," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 77(1), pages 183-91, February.
- Preston, Ian & Ridge, Michael, 1995. "Demand for Local Public Spending: Evidence from the British Social Attitudes Survey," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 105(430), pages 644-60, May.
- David C. Ribar & Mark O. Wilhelm, 1999. "The Demand for Welfare Generosity," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 81(1), pages 96-108, February.
- Pauly, Mark V., 1973. "Income redistribution as a local public good," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 2(1), pages 35-58, February.
- James M. Poterba, 1993.
"State Responses to Fiscal Crisis: The Effects of Budgetary Institutionsand Politics,"
NBER Working Papers
4375, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Poterba, James M, 1994. "State Responses to Fiscal Crises: The Effects of Budgetary Institutions and Politics," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(4), pages 799-821, August.
- Robert A. Moffitt, 1999. "Demographic Change and Public Assistance Expenditures," NBER Working Papers 6995, 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 1023-35, December.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:wop:wispod:1195-99. 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 references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.