Are Two Carrots Better than One? The Effects of Adding Employment Services to Financial Incentive Programs for Welfare Recipients

Posted: 1 Mar 2011

See all articles by Philip K. Robins

Philip K. Robins

University of Miami - School of Business Administration - Department of Economics

Charles Michalopoulos

MDRC - Welfare Reform

Kelly Foley

University of British Columbia (UBC)

Date Written: April 1, 2008

Abstract

The Self-Sufficiency Project (SSP) was a social experiment conducted in two Canadian provinces during the 1990s that tested a generous financial incentive program for welfare recipients. A little-known subsidiary experiment, called SSP Plus, had a three-way design that tested the incremental effect of adding employment services to the generous financial incentive program. Employment services are viewed by many welfare analysts as an important component of an overall strategy for helping welfare recipients escape poverty and achieve stable employment. This paper presents the results of the SSP Plus experiment. Adding employment services encouraged more people to take up the earnings supplement, and it appeared to have long-term effects on full-time employment and welfare receipt. This might be because the services improved the jobs people obtained. Compared to program participants who lacked the added services, SSP Plus members had higher earnings and wage rates, and also appear to have held more sustainable jobs.

Keywords: financial incentive programs,welfare

JEL Classification: J68, D60

Suggested Citation

Robins, Philip K. and Michalopoulos, Charles and Foley, Kelly, Are Two Carrots Better than One? The Effects of Adding Employment Services to Financial Incentive Programs for Welfare Recipients (April 1, 2008). Industrial and Labor Relations Review, Vol. 61, No. 3, 2008, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1773032

Philip K. Robins (Contact Author)

University of Miami - School of Business Administration - Department of Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 248126
Coral Gables, FL 33124-6550
United States
305-284-5664 (Phone)
305-284-2985 (Fax)

Charles Michalopoulos

MDRC - Welfare Reform ( email )

19th Floor
16 East 34th St.
New York, NY 10016-4326
United States
703-231-5942 (Phone)

Kelly Foley

University of British Columbia (UBC) ( email )

2329 West Mall
Vancouver, British Columbia BC V6T 1Z4
Canada

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