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Welfare Reform on the Web (May 2003): Social Security - Overseas

BEFORE AND AFTER TANF: THE ECONOMIC WELL-BEING OF WOMEN LEAVING WELFARE

M. Cancian and others

Social Service Review, vol. 76, 2002, p. 603-641

Uses administrative data from Wisconsin to compare employment, earnings and income outcomes for welfare leavers under early reforms and under the later, more stringent, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families programme. Finds substantially higher rates of exit in the later period. Later leavers are somewhat more likely to work, but their earnings are lower. On average, substantial earnings growth is outweighed by loss of benefits, resulting in reduced net income.

CHARITABLE FOOD ASSISTANCE AS SYMBOLIC GESTURE: AN ETHNOGRAPHIC STUDY OF FOOD BANKS IN ONTARIO

V. Tarasuk and J. M. Eakin

Social Science and Medicine, vol. 56, 2003, p. 1505-1515

Charitable food assistance programmes have been established in Canada to help the needy in the context of reductions in publicly funded services. This study of food bank work in Southern Ontario showed that the limited supply of food by donors restricted the effectiveness of the programme. The food that could be given was insufficient to fully meet the needs of those who sought assistance. In response to supply limitations, workers restricted the frequency with which individual clients could receive assistance and the amount of food they got on any one occasion.

FAMILY CAP AND NON MARITAL FERTILITY: THE RACIAL CONDITIONING OF POLICY EFFECTS

R. Jagannathan and M. J. Camasso

Journal of Marriage and Family, vol. 65, 2003, p. 52-71

The family cap in the USA denies additional cash benefits to children conceived while the mother is receiving public assistance. Research examined the effect of the family cap on 8,000 women receiving public assistance in New Jersey. Results showed that Black women in the experimental group who were subject to the family cap had a 21% lower birth rate and a 32% higher abortion rate than Black women in the control group. No such effect was found for Hispanic or White women.

LISTENING TO LONE MOTHERS: PAID WORK, FAMILY LIFE AND CHILD CARE IN CANADA

R. Mason

Journal of Children and Poverty, vol. 9, 2003, p. 41-54

Full employment is often suggested as the most reliable route out of poverty for lone parent families. Consequently federal and provincial legislation in Canada has increasingly included regulations to ensure that those who receive public assistance become gainfully employed. Study shows that many lone mothers confront and overcome barriers to paid work of their own volition, although they are exempt from employment requirements. Employment is consciously considered and weighed in the light of benefits and expenses anticipated from a salaried position. Once in work, mothers enter a period of acute stress due to unpredictable crises. Those who remain in employment tend to work for family friendly employers and to have strong social support networks.

NEW LEGAL REFORMS AIM TO CUT BACK SICKNESS ABSENCE

Anon

European Industrial Relations Review, issue 349, 2003, p. 19-21

The Netherlands is plagued by very high numbers of people absent from work due to sickness and claiming benefit. Many people are registered as disabled under the relatively generous WAO (Labour Disablement Law) scheme. In order to reduce their numbers, the government introduced a so-called Poortwachter (Gatekeeper) law in April 2002. This accords both employers and employees more responsibility for reintegrating sick workers into the work-place, and has led to a drop in the number of employees registering under the WAO scheme.

NEW UNEMPLOYMENT LEGISLATION REFORMS BENEFITS

Anon

European Industrial Relations Review, issue 350, 2003, p. 19-21

Reforms aimed at encouraging more people to enter the labour market came into force in Denmark in January 2003. The reforms concentrate on reducing benefit levels, putting more pressure on people to accept job offers, improving activation measures for the unemployed and streamlining the systems governing unemployment and social benefits.

SANCTIONS AND MATERIAL HARDSHIP UNDER TANF

A. Kalil, K. S. Seefeldt and H.-C. Wang

Social Service Review, vol. 76, 2002, p. 642-662

Uses panel data from the Women's Employment Survey to examine the predictors of sanctioning and consequences for material hardship among a sample of welfare recipients under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Programme. Statistically significant predictors of being sanctioned included being African American and lacking a high school education. Sanctions were having the desired effect of increasing economic hardship for the families, presumably to spur them back into compliance.

UNEMPLOYMENT DURATIONS AND EXTENDED UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS IN LOCAL LABOR MARKETS

S. Jurajda and F. J. Tannery

Industrial and Labor Relations Review, vol. 56, 2003, p. 324-348

According to job search theory, longer Unemployment Insurance (UI) entitlement subsidises job search and leads to longer unemployment spells. Paper measures the effect of identical entitlement extensions across two local labour markets facing very different demand conditions, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia from 1980-1985. Results show that the adverse effect of entitlement extensions on unemployment duration changes very little in response to variations in local demand for labour.

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