The extent to which means-tested transfers, social insurance, and tax credits fill the gap between family’s private resources and the poverty threshold is a periodic barometer of the social safety net. Using data on families from the Current Population Survey I examine how the level and composition of before- and after-tax and after-transfer poverty gaps changed in response to changes in the policy and economic landscapes over the past two decades.
There is spirited debate between those who maintain that public assistance to the poor decreases poverty by raising their incomes (an income enhancement effect) and those who contend that welfare increases poverty by discouraging the poor from working (a work disincentive effect). Extant studies have been inconclusive because they have focused on the effect of welfare benefits on the poverty rate, but have not employed designs that allow researchers to sort out distinct income enhancement and work disincentive effects.
As labor markets tightened in the last half of the nineties, economic development and community leaders sought to identify more locally available workers than were indicated by published statistics. Using results from commissioned surveys, they pointed to large numbers of part-time workers who desired full-time work, and to full-time workers who were qualified for better jobs. These statistics were often used to negate low official unemployment rates that deterred firms, concerned by the ostensible shortage of workers, from locating in their counties.
This paper investigates how barriers to employment, human capital, and demographic characteristics affect women’s exit routes off welfare. Specifically, I address two questions. First, what are the avenues through which women leave welfare? Second, are mental and physical health problems, domestic violence, and lack of access to transportation, characteristics that have been ignored in other studies of welfare dynamics, associated with different welfare exit routes?
The purpose of this investigation was to examine the relationship between the development of obesity in children ages five to ten years, and poverty (the socio-economic status of the family). Because of the associated complications of obesity such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes and hypertension, this research aimed to determine if obesity, a precursor of these diseases, was related to poverty. The rate of the development of hypertension and diabetes in children and young adults has been steadily increasing over the past ten years (Hines, Fishman, Green, 1999).
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.