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Welfare Reform on the Web (July 2009): Social security - overseas

Did welfare reform cause the caseload decline?

C. Danielson and J.A. Klerman

Social Service Review, vol. 82, 2008, p. 703-730

The federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) programme was created in 1996 to replace Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC). In the 2006 reauthorisation of TANF, the Bush administration proclaimed welfare reform had been a resounding success, but research has not proved that specific welfare policies caused caseloads to decline. Using improved monthly administrative data and difference-in-difference models, this research estimates the effects on caseloads of four policy changes introduced by TANF: financial incentives, sanctions, time limits and diversion. The simulations imply that the measured policies explain only about 10%, and the economy explains about 5%, of the 56% decline in national welfare caseloads between 1992 and 2005.

Effectiveness and limitations of the Earned Income Tax Credit for reducing child poverty in the United States

M.K. Eamon, C.-F. Wu and S. Zhang

Children and Youth Services Review, vol.31, 2009, p. 919-926

Based on international comparisons, the United States has a high child poverty rate. The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) provides cash benefits to low-income working families by reducing the federal tax the family owes and by refunding any of the tax credit remaining after the tax liability is reduced to zero. It is currently the largest cash transfer programme for low-income families with children in the US. This article examines the EITC programme and its effectiveness in reducing child poverty in a historical context, critically analyses four limitations to the programme's ability to further reduce child poverty, and provides an international and a broad US policy framework for examining these limitations.

Experiments in 21st century antipoverty policy

L. Aber

Public Policy Research, vol. 16 2009, p. 57-63

In the United States there are few schemes designed both to reduce income poverty in the short-term and to promote parental investment in children's human capital development. However, New York City is experimenting with such a policy of conditional cash transfers called Opportunity New York City based on schemes developed in Latin America over the last decade. Parents receive cash payments in return for investing in their children's health and education and their own employability.

Justice implications of proposed federal family and work tax credits: applying justice theories to policy advocacy

L.B. Granruth

Families in Society, vol.90, 2009, p. 205-211

In January 2005, President George W. Bush established a bipartisan Presidential Advisory Panel on Tax Reform. The Panel recommended changes in numerous areas of the tax code, including the earned income tax credit, the low-income housing tax credit, the home mortgage deduction, and taxation on income and savings. This paper analyses the competing justice implications of the Advisory Panel's proposals to create two new federal income tax credits, a family credit and a work credit, based on three social justice theories, utilitarianism, egalitarianism and communitarianism. A decision to support these types of tax policy changes is presented and defended, based on an explicit need-based justice claim.

Killing the golden goose? Third sector organizations and back-to-work programmes in Germany and the UK

M. Aiken and I. Bode

Social Policy and Administration, vol. 43, 2009, p. 209-225

This article illustrates how non-profit organisations delivering employment services in Britain and Germany have sought to create integrative environments for disadvantaged people. They developed a 'one plus two' focus to their work, consisting of worthwhile work placements, useful services for the community, and local network development. These organisations always relied on partnerships with public bodies for funding, but recently governments have introduced contracts which pay only for work placement services, crowding out the other aspects. This may destroy the ability of the delivering agencies to provide sustainable integration for disadvantaged people.

US welfare reform: rewriting the social contract

N. Gilbert

Social Policy Journal, vol. 38, 2009, p. 383-399

This article begins by examining how the implementation of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) in 1996 and the later Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 reinforced conditionality and reduced entitlement to welfare. It then goes on to explore how progressive and conservative policymakers can continue to manoeuvre to redefine and rebalance rights and responsibilities in a new social contact governing access to public assistance. First, advocates of conditionality may use the success of TANF in reducing welfare caseloads to justify extending conditionality to other public assistance programmes such as food stamps. Secondly, advocates of social entitlements are shifting the emphasis of reforms away from the responsibility to work and towards the right to a living wage. Thirdly, there are also moves towards the counting delivery of unpaid care of children and elderly as equivalent to paid work. Finally, the enactment of TANF has opened up opportunities for US states to adjust the balance between conditionality and entitlement in accordance with local priorities.

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