Effects of Welfare Reform on Parenting

33 Pages Posted: 16 Nov 2020 Last revised: 21 Mar 2021

See all articles by Nancy Reichman

Nancy Reichman

Rutgers University, New Brunswick - Robert Wood Johnson Medical School

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

Ariel Kalil

University of Chicago

Ofira Schwartz

Princeton University

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: November 2020

Abstract

This study investigated the effects of welfare reform in the 1990s, which represented a major policy shift that substantially and permanently retracted cash assistance to poor mothers in the U.S., on parenting. Using data on women from the 1979 cohort of the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth linked with information on their 10- to 14-year-old children from the Child Self-Administered and Self-Report surveys, we exploited variation in the implementation of welfare reform across states, over time, and across treatment and comparison groups to estimate the effects of welfare reform on parent-child activities and closeness of the mother-child relationship. We found that welfare reform had adverse effects on engagement in parent-child activities, children feeling close to their mothers, and mothers knowing their children’s whereabouts, with the effects generally concentrated among boys. These findings have implications for children’s development and contribute to a virtually non-existent literature on the effects of welfare reform on parenting and the small but growing economic literature on parenting. We found no evidence that the effects of welfare reform on parenting operated through the mother working more than full time, having multiple jobs, working in a service job, or having a non-standard work schedule.

Suggested Citation

Reichman, Nancy and Corman, Hope and Dave, Dhaval and Dave, Dhaval and Kalil, Ariel and Schwartz, Ofira, Effects of Welfare Reform on Parenting (November 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3731246

Nancy Reichman (Contact Author)

Rutgers University, New Brunswick - Robert Wood Johnson Medical School ( email )

Somerset, NJ 08873
United States

Hope Corman

Rider University ( email )

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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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Dhaval Dave

Bentley University - Department of Economics ( email )

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United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) - NY Office

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New York, NY 10016-4309
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Ariel Kalil

University of Chicago ( email )

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Chicago, IL 60637
United States

Ofira Schwartz

Princeton University

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