Effects of Welfare Reform on Parenting

34 Pages Posted: 17 Nov 2020

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-Soicher

University of Medicine & Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ)

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: November 16, 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.

JEL Classification: I3,J13

Suggested Citation

Reichman, Nancy and Corman, Hope and Dave, Dhaval and Dave, Dhaval and Kalil, Ariel and Schwartz-Soicher, Ofira, Effects of Welfare Reform on Parenting (November 16, 2020). University of Chicago, Becker Friedman Institute for Economics Working Paper No. 2020-163, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3731618 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3731618

Nancy Reichman

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

Somerset, NJ 08873
United States

Hope Corman

Rider University ( email )

2083 Lawrenceville Road
Lawrenceville, NJ 08648
United States
609-895-5559 (Phone)
609-896-5304 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
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
United States

Ariel Kalil (Contact Author)

University of Chicago ( email )

1101 East 58th Street
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

Ofira Schwartz-Soicher

University of Medicine & Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ) ( email )

P.O. Box 1709
Newark, NJ 07101
United States

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