Temporary Assistance for Needy Families

132 Pages Posted: 23 Mar 2015 Last revised: 24 Mar 2015

See all articles by James P. Ziliak

James P. Ziliak

University of Kentucky - Department of Economics

Date Written: March 2015


In this chapter I provide a brief history of the TANF program, including changes made as part of the 2005 Deficit Reduction Act. I then present a variety of program statistics, including trends in aggregate and state-level caseloads and spending, along with changes in the demographic composition of the program, especially the shift from adult with child cases to child-only cases. I also highlight the changing composition of spending on the program from cash assistance to in-kind assistance, and the challenges faced in documenting total (cash + in-kind) caseloads and spending. I follow this with a discussion of the behavioral issues surrounding TANF, including the four program goals and possible modifications as part of the 2014 reauthorization legislation, and then I provide a systematic review of the research evidence on whether those goals have been met.

Suggested Citation

Ziliak, James P., Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (March 2015). NBER Working Paper No. w21038, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2583586

James P. Ziliak (Contact Author)

University of Kentucky - Department of Economics ( email )

Lexington, KY 40506
United States

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