The Effects of Welfare-to-Work Program Activities on Labor Market Outcomes
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Studies examining welfare-to-work program effectiveness present mixed and sometimes discrepant findings, partly due to research design, data, and methodological limitations. Using administrative data on Missouri and North Carolina welfare recipients, we substantially improve on past estimation approaches to identify the distinct effects of each state's welfare-to-work sub-programs—assessment, job search assistance and job readiness training, and more intensive programs designed to augment human capital. More intensive training is associated with greater initial earnings losses but also greater long-run earnings gains. The negative program impacts we observe in quarters immediately following participation turn positive by the second year after participation.
Department of Economics, 2006