The Effect of Welfare on Child Outcomes: What We Know and What We Need to Know

Posted: 21 May 1998

See all articles by Janet Currie

Janet Currie

Princeton University; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

Date Written: March 1996

Abstract

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

Currie, Janet, The Effect of Welfare on Child Outcomes: What We Know and What We Need to Know (March 1996 ). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3113

Janet Currie (Contact Author)

Princeton University ( email )

Princeton, NJ 08544-1021
United States
6092587393 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.princeton.edu/~jcurrie

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

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Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

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