Welfare Reform and Family Expenditures: How are Single Mothers Adapting to the New Welfare and Work Regime?

39 Pages Posted: 20 Nov 2006 Last revised: 1 Jul 2010

See all articles by Neeraj Kaushal

Neeraj Kaushal

Columbia University - School of Social Work; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Qin Gao

Fordham University

Jane Waldfogel

Columbia University - School of Social Work

Date Written: October 2006

Abstract

We study the effect of welfare reform, broadly defined to include social policy changes in the 1990s, on the material well-being and expenditure patterns of poor single-mother families. Our research suggests that welfare reform did not affect total expenditures in households headed by low-educated single mothers. However, patterns of expenditure did change. We find strong evidence that the policy was associated with an increase in spending on transportation and food away from home, and some evidence of an increase in spending on adult clothing and footwear. In contrast, we find no statistically significant changes in expenditures on childcare or learning and enrichment activities. This pattern of results suggests that welfare reform has shifted family expenditures towards items that facilitate work outside the home, but, at least so far, has not allowed families to catch up with more advantaged families in terms of their expenditures on learning and enrichment items.

Suggested Citation

Kaushal, Neeraj and Gao, Qin and Waldfogel, Jane, Welfare Reform and Family Expenditures: How are Single Mothers Adapting to the New Welfare and Work Regime? (October 2006). NBER Working Paper No. w12624, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=938417

Neeraj Kaushal (Contact Author)

Columbia University - School of Social Work ( email )

622 W. 113th Street
New York, NY 10025
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Qin Gao

Fordham University ( email )

113 West 60th Street
New York, NY 10023
United States

Jane Waldfogel

Columbia University - School of Social Work ( email )

622 W. 113th Street
New York, NY 10025
United States

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