Academic journal article Policy & Practice of Public Human Services

Economic Conditions and Welfare Reform

Academic journal article Policy & Practice of Public Human Services

Economic Conditions and Welfare Reform

Article excerpt

Welfare reform is widely touted as the reason welfare caseloads have declined rapidly the last few years. Apparently, say a group of researchers, reforms have contributed to this decline, but so has the booming economy. If this is true, what will happen to caseloads if the economy enters a recession, and what will states do to confront rising welfare costs?

Economic Conditions and Welfare Reform discusses the relationship between welfare caseloads and the economy. Using the most current data available, a group of the nation's leading researchers examines the effects of welfare reform prior to and after enactment of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996. What they find is a mixed picture.

Says its editor, Danziger, "Taken together, the chapters in this volume suggest that, in its first few years, the 1996 welfare reform has been more successful in some dimensions than in others. Much of the success to date is due to a booming economy and to a fiscal environment in which states have more funds to spend per recipient than they had in the past. Nonetheless, even under these optimal economic and fiscal conditions, some recipients have already 'slipped through the cracks.'" He also warns that, given the current rules governing public assistance, the success in reducing welfare caseloads seen to date may disappear during the next recession. …

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