Home > Uncategorized > Need Work For Work-Based Welfare – Business Insider

Need Work For Work-Based Welfare – Business Insider

October 13, 2012 Leave a comment Go to comments

Need Work For Work-Based Welfare – Business Insider.

This may seem only obliquely related to the political hurly-burly of the moment, but I think it’s connected.

The figure below, from Danilo Trisi at CBPP, shows the employment rates (share of the population at work in the paid labor market) of three categories of women: married and never-married moms, and single women without kids.

All the women in the sample are between 20 and 49 and have no more than a high-school degree.

Why these groups?

Because this is an analysis of work-based welfare reform and its interaction with the demand side of the job market.

More plainly, it asks how realistic it is to expect less-educated, never-married moms to work when the jobs are—and aren’t—there?

The other women form a kind of control group.  Their employment rates are affected by the economy, but not by the work requirements that were at the core of the 1990s welfare reform, since they are either ineligible (no kids) or much less likely to be on TANF (i.e., welfare).


Jared Bernstein

In the 1990s, a number of factors explain the sharp increase in the employment rates of never-married moms.  The 1996 welfare reform bill, which predicated benefit receipt on paid work, is of course part of the explanation, but the trend began before the bill was passed so other factors must have also been in play.

In fact, research on these trends show that the push of welfare reform was a relative minor factor behind the pull of the 1992 expansion of the Earned Income Credit (a wage subsidy for low-income workers) and the booming low-wage job market, particularly in the latter half of the decade.


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