The Effect of Welfare on Child Outcomes: What We Know and What We Need to Know
Posted: 21 May 1998
Date Written: March 1996
This survey discusses 8 large federal welfare programs that affect children. The available evidence is incomplete but suggests a consistent story: Programs that target services directly to children have the largest effects, while unrestricted cash transfer programs have the smallest. There are also striking and largely unexplained differences in the effects of some programs by race, ethnicity, and/or natality. The survey concludes with four questions for future research: 1) Do welfare programs have long-term effects on children?; 2) Why do programs have differential effects by race, ethnicity and natality?; 3) How do programs interact?; and 4) How exactly do successful programs work? These questions indicate that though we know much more than we did even 5 years ago about the effects of welfare on children, there is still much work to be done if we are to make informed decisions about public policy.
JEL Classification: I38
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation