Race, Bureaucratic Discretion, and the Implementation of Welfare Reform
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This paper explores the impact of the race of individual clients and of the local racial context on the implementation of sanctions for recipients of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) in a Midwestern state. We find that although nonwhites are sanctioned at lower rates than whites overall, nonwhites are sanctioned more compared to whites in each local area. This paradox occurs because nonwhites tend to live in areas with lower sanction rates. Consistent with the literature on race and policy, we find that sanction rates increase as the nonwhite population increases until a threshold is reached where nonwhites gain political power.
Department of Economics, 2003