The Correlates of Work in a Post-AFDC World: The Results from a Longitudinal State-Level Analysis (WP-07-01)
Dan A. Lewis, Spyros Konstantopoulos, and Lisa Altenbernd
Much of the research that has followed welfare reform and new policies such as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) has focused on identifying the variations in how different states have put the new policy into practice. Less is known, however, about how this new policy affects the ability of recipients to earn a living through work. This paper uses rich panel data from Illinois and examines what explains labor force participation and performance among current and recent TANF recipients. Both cross-sectional and longitudinal methods are used in the analyses. Results indicate that human capital factors such as education, job skills, and health are important determinants of labor market participation and performance. In addition, long-term welfare recipients are equally likely to participate and perform well in the labor market as shorter term welfare recipients. Finally, the government housing subsidy appears to positively affect labor force participation and performance.