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The Economists' VoiceTop Economists Take On Today's Problems$
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Joseph Stiglitz, Aaron Edlin, and J. Bradford DeLong

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780231143653

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231143653.001.0001

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Was Welfare Reform Successful?

Was Welfare Reform Successful?

Chapter:
(p.185) Chapter 21 Was Welfare Reform Successful?
Source:
The Economists' Voice
Author(s):

Rebecca M. Blank

Publisher:
Columbia University Press
DOI:10.7312/columbia/9780231143653.003.0021

This chapter considers the impact of the welfare reform signed by President Bill Clinton in 1996, a major policy initiative targeting the situation of unemployed single mothers dependent on welfare. The reform was controversial and many critics were skeptical about the ability of states to get women into work and feared they would be left in dire poverty with their welfare checks cut off. Their fears proved unfounded in one sense: welfare caseloads plummeted between 1996 and 2000. However, the contribution of welfare reform, higher minimum wages, the Earned Income Tax Credit, and the booming economy are hard to separate. What's more, unemployment among single mothers declined sharply, but poverty fell by far less.

Keywords:   welfare reform, public policy, welfare policy, unemployed single mothers, welfare recipients, poverty

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