The 1990s played host to the most significant changes in the American welfare system in the last 50 years— in particular, states were granted much wider latitude in deciding who is eligible to receive welfare. Taking advantage of these changes, we examine the linkage between lower class turnout and state adoption of restrictive welfare eligibility requirements after the passage of the historic welfare reform legislation of 1996. We find that in states where lower class turnout was relatively high, lawmakers were much less likely to pass a range of “get tough” welfare rules.

Low income and working poor families are exposed to tremendous stressors, which in turn can impede their ability to care for their children. In 2000, reports of abuse and/or neglect of more than 5 million children were made to Child Protective Services agencies. These families are often termed “at-risk” because of the possibility that the children could be placed in foster care. One prevention strategy used to help at-risk families is in-home family therapy. In this paper, I offer a qualitative study of in-home family therapy services from the perspectives of the families themselves.

The Food Stamp Program provides assistance to households with incomes and assets below fixed thresholds. Although it is the largest entitlement program in the social safety net, little is known about the effect of food stamps on stabilizing fluctuations in household income and consumption. To estimate the volatility of income and the attendant reduction in volatility due to food stamps we use data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics over 1980-1999 along with a model of income that admits permanent and transitory components as well as random growth rate heterogeneity.

Understanding the link between poverty and economic growth is of long-standing interest, but heretofore it has not received much attention within the context of the dramatic changes in recent business-cycle conditions and social policies. In this paper we use state-level panel data from the 1981–2000 waves of the Current Population Survey to examine the impacts of the macroeconomy and welfare reform on family poverty. We estimate models of before-tax and after-tax poverty rates and squared poverty gaps for all families, by family structure, and by race.