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This study investigates the effects of a broad-based policy change that altered maternal employment, family income, and other family characteristics on drug-related crime…
This study investigates the effects of a broad-based policy change that altered maternal employment, family income, and other family characteristics on drug-related crime among youth. Specifically, we exploit differences in the implementation of welfare reform in the United States across states and over time in the attempt to identify causal effects of welfare reform on youth arrests for drug-related crimes between 1990 and 2005, the period during which welfare reform unfolded. We use monthly arrest data from the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Uniform Crime Reports to estimate the effects of welfare reform implementation on drug-related arrests among 15- to 17-year-old teens exposed to welfare reform. The findings, based on numerous different model specifications, suggest that welfare reform had no statistically significant effect on teen drug arrests. Most estimates were positive and suggestive of a small (3%) increase in arrests.
This paper examines the effect of welfare reform policies on changes in poverty in the United States during 1992–2005. Using state-level panel data we estimate latent…
This paper examines the effect of welfare reform policies on changes in poverty in the United States during 1992–2005. Using state-level panel data we estimate latent trajectory models to determine if welfare reform has contributed to changes in the trajectories of poverty growth (decline) beyond what would have naturally occurred through the passage of time. Our results show that (a) states vary considerably in both their mean initial level as well as trajectories of poverty; (b) welfare reform was responsible for nearly 27% of the decline in poverty during the study period; (c) the economy played a secondary role, responsible for a 10% reduction in poverty; and (d) income support policies like minimum wage and child support collection also had an important role to play, with the latter contributing as much as welfare reform to poverty reduction. Our estimates remain robust against changes in modeling strategies and methods.
Welfare reform banned newly arrived immigrants who came to the US after 1996 from receiving federally funded benefits for five years. One assessment of the success of the…
Welfare reform banned newly arrived immigrants who came to the US after 1996 from receiving federally funded benefits for five years. One assessment of the success of the five-year ban is the effect it has on behaviors that determine economic success and the likelihood of becoming a public charge. In this chapter, we investigate the effect of the five-year ban on the employment, hours of work, and wages of low-income women. Our results indicate that welfare reform in general caused a significant increase in the employment of low-educated, unmarried mothers regardless of citizenship. Among non-citizens, welfare reform was associated with a 10 percentage point (26%) increase in employment, a two-hour (15%) increase in hours worked per week, and a 10 percent decrease in wages. Surprisingly, we find little evidence that the five-year ban had any additional effect on the employment, hours of work, and wages of low-educated and unmarried, non-citizen mothers.
These reforms offer a vision of a fairer welfare system where truly no one is written off, where nearly everyone is preparing or looking for work, where everyone is treated as an individual and gets the support they need. More importantly, these reforms point the way to a fairer society where children don't grow up in poverty, where disabled people enjoy real equality, and everyone is given real help to overcome the barriers to achieving their full potential. (DWP, 2008, p. 8)Workfare has finally arrived in the UK, but not with trumpet blasts of outrage: it's been smuggled in with lofty rhetoric about ‘personalisation’, ‘individually tailored’ advice and support which will enable people to ‘take control of their journey to work'. (Bunting, 2009)
Most current modeling approaches identify very small gains from trade reform. In this chapter, we examine recent developments in the literature to assess whether standard…
Most current modeling approaches identify very small gains from trade reform. In this chapter, we examine recent developments in the literature to assess whether standard modeling approaches are mis-specifying, understating, or overstating the gains from trade reform. Key areas where the impacts of trade barrier reduction appear to be understated include the measurement of barriers; the aggregation of these barriers; process productivity gains, particularly those resulting from reallocation of resources between firms; product quality improvements and expansion of product variety; factor supply; and investment of gains from trade.
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…
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.
The welfare state is certainly paradoxical. On the one hand, it is extraordinary mundane, concerned with the minutiae of the pension and benefit rights of millions of…
The welfare state is certainly paradoxical. On the one hand, it is extraordinary mundane, concerned with the minutiae of the pension and benefit rights of millions of citizens. On the other, the sheer scale of its growth is one of the most remarkable features of the post-war capitalist world and it remains on of the dominant, if sometimes unnoticed, institutions of the modern world. (Pierson, 1998, p. 208)
The United States has always been an outlier in its approach to social welfare and safety net provision compared to other industrial and postindustrial nations. A large…
The United States has always been an outlier in its approach to social welfare and safety net provision compared to other industrial and postindustrial nations. A large literature has emerged to explain U.S. exceptionalism. Much of this theory and research centers on U.S. race relations and, more recently, on gender ideologies embedded in state policies that have fostered “poverty knowledge” and policies that emphasize individual responsibility and dependency rather than structural factors and processes that create social stigma and exclusion (O'Connor, 2001). Relatively unrecognized is the way spatial inequality shapes U.S. welfare policies. The restructuring of the welfare state by the enactment in 1996 of PRWORA, the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act, more familiarly known as welfare reform, highlighted the significance of spatial inequality through one of its key provisions: devolution of authority for program formation and administration to state and local jurisdictions. Devolution, a major element of neoliberal policies designed to diminish state redistributive power, places responsibility for welfare reform in local jurisdictions and agencies with varying capacities and resources for this task. Rural areas are particularly subject to disadvantage from devolution as they often lack the means to successfully implement welfare to work policies. Studies of the impacts of welfare reform using national data and crude proxies for spatial differences obscure differences in outcomes for individuals and communities that emerge when more attention is paid to spatial variation. The result is a form of extreme spatial inequality that marginalizes rural regions, communities, and their impoverished residents. This chapter examines the relationship between spatial inequality, devolution, and social exclusion for rural peoples and places in the era of welfare reform and shows how these form key elements of U.S. welfare provision. Illustrations are drawn from primary research on the impacts of welfare reform in rural Appalachia.
Purpose – The negotiated order branch of symbolic interaction used to examine the process by which welfare regulations were dramatically changed in which the forty-year…
Purpose – The negotiated order branch of symbolic interaction used to examine the process by which welfare regulations were dramatically changed in which the forty-year old AFDC (Aid to Families with Dependent Children) was abandoned, and a new W-2 (Welfare Works) welfare reform effort was developed and socially negotiated with the Federal government and in the State of Wisconsin. We probe interactions within the mesodomain of four levels of actors: the Federal government; State-level government in both the executive and legislative branches; county-level government; and public and private welfare service delivery agencies.
Method – Qualitative, naturalistic, ten-year field study entailing interviews and archival analyses.
Findings – The reform effort involved the mutual constitution of the W-2 social structure and the social interactions that surrounded it through such strategies as negotiation, conflict, manipulation, coercion, exchange, bargaining, collusion, power brokering, and rhetoric, which were all circumscribed by and interpenetrated with the predecessor AFDC rule system. In turn, the welfare budget was reduced from $652m to $257m. We observed that the macro structure of welfare shaped the micro social actions of a variety of actors, and that micro social action by institutional entrepreneurs reconstituted structure of welfare policy in what proved to be a moving matrix.
Research implications – Implications were directed at extending and refining the negotiated order perspective.
Social implications – Given that the number of welfare recipients was reduced from 300,000 to 10,000, their fate in a weak economy was explored.
Originality – Chapter extends symbolic interaction concepts to examine a contested social domain.