Academic journal article Monthly Labor Review

Welfare Reform Conference

Academic journal article Monthly Labor Review

Welfare Reform Conference

Article excerpt

The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act, the legislative underpinning of welfare reform, became law in 1996. In November 2000, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York held a conference on progress in welfare reform. The papers and proceedings of that conference were published as the most recent issue of the Bank's Economic Policy Review.

The first and most central question of most evaluations of welfare reform has been its impact on the employment, income, and other material indicators of well being among the program's constituencies. Pamela Loprest's paper came to conclusions similar to those of the papers published in this Review in July: A substantial portion of former welfare recipients are working or are living in a household in which an adult member is employed, however the evidence does not show unequivocal success in transitioning from welfare. In Loprest's National Survey of America's Families data, about one leaver in rive returns to the welfare system, and about a quarter live in a family with no earnings at the time of the survey.

The next session of the conference focused on the relative roles of the improving economic climate in the late 1990s versus the implementation of welfare reform. Rebecca M. Blank identifies the three simultaneous events that characterized the late 1990s and reviewed a wide variety of studies that attempted to disentangle their effects on welfare caseloads. …

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