This paper looks at the changes in the time allocation of welfare recipients in the United States following the 1996 welfare reform and other changes in their economic environment. Time use is a major determinant of well-being, and for policymakers to understand the broad influences that their policies can have on a population they ought to consider changes in all activities, not simply paid work. While an increase in market work of the welfare population has been well documented, little is known on the evolution of the balance of their time. Using the Current Population Survey to model the propensity to receive welfare, together with a multiple imputation procedure, I replicate previous difference-in-differences estimates that found an increase in child care and a decline in nonmarket work. However when additional data sources are used, I find that time spent providing child care does not increase. This is especially relevant as welfare recipients are overwhelmingly poor single mothers and the welfare reform increased time at work with ambiguous effects on time spent with children. I also find that time at work follows business cycles, with dramatic increases in work time throughout the strong economy of the late 1990s, accompanied by less time in leisure activities.
Funding from SSHRC and FQRSC is greatly acknowledged. Thanks to anonymous referees, seminar participants at UQAM and participants at IZA workshop on nonmarket time in economics for helpful comments. All remaining errors are my own.
Connolly, M. (2014), "The Changing Time use of U.S. Welfare Recipients between 1992 and 2005", Factors Affecting Worker Well-being: The Impact of Change in the Labor Market (Research in Labor Economics, Vol. 40), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 223-255. https://doi.org/10.1108/S0147-912120140000040008
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