Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Working Paper Series,
IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy

No 2008:13: Welfare reform: the US experience

Robert Moffitt ()
Additional contact information
Robert Moffitt: John Hopkins University, Postal: 440 Mergenthaler Hall, 3400 N. Charles Street, Baltimore, MD 21218, USA

Abstract: The reform of the cash-based welfare program for single mothers in the US which occurred in the 1990s was the most important since its inception in 1935. The reforms imposed credible and enforceable work requirements into the program for the first time, as well as establishing time limits on lifetime receipt. Research on the effects of the reform have shown it to have reduced the program caseload and governmental expenditures on the program. In addition, the reform has had generally positive average effects on employment, earnings, and income, and generally negative effects on poverty rates, although the gains are not evenly distributed across groups. A fraction of the affected group appears to have been made worse off by the reform.

Keywords: Welfare reform; Poverty; Single mothers

JEL-codes: I30

46 pages, May 17, 2008

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