Welfare Reform

Long-run impact of welfare reform on educational attainment and family structure

In the early 90’s, the United States reformed its welfare system through state waivers and the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program. These changes altered family resources and potential investments for childhood human capital, which in turn could affect later adult outcomes. Using data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, I examine the long-run impact of growing up under welfare reform on adult education and family structure through age 28.  I find that as children, these individuals have higher reading test scores by an average of 6% of a standard deviation.

The changing safety net for low income parents and their children: Structural or cyclical changes in income support policy?

Refundable tax credits and food assistance are the largest transfer programs available to able-bodied working poor and near-poor families in the United States, and simultaneous participation in these programs has more than doubled since the early 2000s.

Welfare reform and the intergenerational transmission of dependence

We estimate the effect of welfare reform on the intergenerational transmission of welfare participation and related economic outcomes using a long panel of mother-daughter pairs over the survey period 1968-2013 in the Panel Study of Income Dynamics. Because states implemented welfare reform at different times starting in 1992, the cross-state variation over time permits us to quasi-experimentally separate out the effect of mothers’ welfare participation during childhood on daughters’ economic outcomes in adulthood in the pre- and post-welfare reform periods.

Behavioral Responses and Welfare Reform: Evidence from a Randomized Experiment

Recent studies have used a distributional analysis of welfare reform experiments suggesting that some individuals reduce hours in order to opt into welfare, an example of behavioral-induced participation. Using data on Connecticut’s Jobs First experiment, we find no evidence of behavioral-induced participation at the highest conditional quantiles of earnings. We offer a simple explanation for this: women assigned to Jobs First incur welfare participation costs to labor supply at higher earnings where the control group is welfare ineligible.

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families

This paper discusses the history of the TANF program, participation, and spending. Also discussed are the goals of TANF legislation, changes in rules regarding utilization of cash welfare, especially the introduction of work requirements under the 1996 legislation. The author also offers a theorhetical discussion and a review of the empirical literature regarding TANF. The paper was prepared for a National Business and Economic Research conference on Dec. 5-6, 2014.

Was there a 'race to the bottom' after welfare reform?

Leading up to the passage of the 1996 welfare reform, there was much speculation and debate over the possibility that states would \race to the bottom" in setting welfare generosity if given more control over their individual programs. In the fteen years after welfare reform, did such a race to the bottom ensue? Using a spatial dynamic econometric approach, I investigate welfare competition across multiple policy instruments and across three distinct welfare periods -- the AFDC regime, the experimental waiver period leading up to the reform, and the TANF era.

The importance of region and state welfare rules for disconnected single mothers

The proportion of low-income, single mothers not receiving public assistance or participating in the formal employment sector has approximately doubled over the past decade. Many of the currently debated policy options to support these families focus on state level programs. However, little is known about the relationships between state welfare program characteristics and disconnectedness. This project assesses the effect of state welfare rules on the likelihood of being disconnected from these two income sources.

A Tale of Two Cities? The Heterogeneous Impact of Medicaid Managed Care in Kentucky

Does managed care produce lower health care utilization and costs through better aligned financial incentives and alternative delivery methods (the “pure” HMO effect) or by attracting more healthy enrollees (enrollee selection)? The purpose of this paper is to shed new light on this fundamental question using a quasi-experimental approach that exploits the timing and county specific implementation of Medicaid managed care plans in two distinct sub-sets of Kentucky counties in the late 1990s.

The organization of discipline: From performance management to perversity and punishment

Poverty programs in recent decades has been transformed by the convergence of paternalistic and neoliberal approaches to administration. This has resulted in a devolution of program control to local jurisdictions. we seek to bridge this divide. Drawing on intensive field research and administrative data from the Florida Welfare Transition (WT) program, we present an empirically-grounded analysis of how organizations carry out the work of discipline in a decentralized, performancedriven policy system.