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The Use and Effects of Welfare: A Survey of Recent Evidence

Greg J. Duncan and Saul D. Hoffman
Social Service Review
Vol. 62, No. 2 (Jun., 1988), pp. 238-257
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/30011965
Page Count: 20
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The Use and Effects of Welfare: A Survey of Recent Evidence
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Abstract

A review of research on the patterns of receipt and behavioral effects of the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program shows that many widely held ideas are not supported by findings based on nationally representative data. Among the key findings are the following: short-term and long-term welfare use are equally common; long-term dependence does not appear to be induced by the AFDC program; the majority of women growing up in heavily welfare-dependent homes are not themselves heavily dependent as young adults; and social-psychological factors have not been persuasively shown to either cause or be affected by welfare receipt. Evidence on the effects of welfare benefits on family structure decisions is inconclusive, in part because behavioral models have failed to take into account the full set of choices available to individuals.

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