Effects of Welfare Reform on Women's Voting Participation

22 Pages Posted: 30 May 2017

See all articles by Hope Corman

Hope Corman

Rider University; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Dhaval Dave

Bentley University - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) - NY Office

Nancy E. Reichman

University of Medicine & Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ) - Robert Wood Johnson Medical School

Multiple version iconThere are 3 versions of this paper

Date Written: July 2017

Abstract

This study investigates the effects of welfare reform in the United States in the 1990s on voting among low‐income women. Using the November Current Population Surveys with the added Voting and Registration Supplement for the years 1990 through 2004 and exploiting changes in welfare policy across states and over time, we estimate the causal effects of welfare reform on women's voting registration and voting participation during the period in which welfare reform unfolded. During this time period, voter turnout was decreasing in the United States. We find robust evidence that welfare reform led to smaller declines in voting (about 3 to 4 percentage points, which translates to about 10% relative to the baseline mean) for women who were exposed to welfare reform compared to several different comparison groups of similar women who were much less exposed. The robust findings suggest that welfare reform had prosocial effects on civic participation, as characterized by voting. The effects were largely confined to presidential elections, were stronger in Democratic than Republican states, were stronger in states with stronger work incentive policies, and appeared to operate through employment, education, and income.

JEL Classification: D72, H53, I38, J21

Suggested Citation

Corman, Hope and Dave, Dhaval and Reichman, Nancy E., Effects of Welfare Reform on Women's Voting Participation (July 2017). Economic Inquiry, Vol. 55, Issue 3, pp. 1430-1451, 2017. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2976583 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ecin.12433

Hope Corman (Contact Author)

Rider University ( email )

2083 Lawrenceville Road
Lawrenceville, NJ 08648
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609-895-5559 (Phone)
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National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Cambridge, MA 02138
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Dhaval Dave

Bentley University - Department of Economics ( email )

175 Forest Street
Waltham, MA 02452-4705
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) - NY Office

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New York, NY 10016-4309
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Nancy E. Reichman

University of Medicine & Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ) - Robert Wood Johnson Medical School ( email )

97 Paterson Street
Room 435
New Brunswick, NJ 08903
United States

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