University of Wisconsin–Madison
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Have Welfare-to-Work Programs Improved Over Time In Putting Welfare Recipients To Work?

Data from 76 experimental welfare-to-work programs conducted in the United States between 1983 and 1998 are used to investigate whether the impacts of such programs on employment had been improving over time and whether specific program features influencing such changes can be identified. Over the period, an increasing percentage of control group members received services similar to those offered to program group members. As a result, differential participation in program service activities between program and control group members decreased steadily over time. This reduction in the net receipt of program services tended to reduce the impact of these programs on employment. However, the negative influence of the reduced incremental services was offset by other factors that resulted in program impacts remaining essentially constant from 1983 to 1998. Suggestions are made for possibly improving program impacts in future experiments.


Economic Support, Employment, Low-Wage Work, Means-Tested Programs, Unemployment/Nonemployment


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