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Do welfare sanctions help or hurt the poor? Estimating the casual effect of sanctions on client earnings

Date Added to Library: 
Tuesday, February 4, 2014 - 09:40
Individual Author: 
Fording, Richard
Schram, Sanford
Soss, Joe
Reference Type: 
Research Methodology: 
Published Date: 
December 2013
Published Date (Text): 
December 2013
Number of Volumes: 
Page Range: 

This article examines the effects of financial sanctions for noncompliance on the earnings of TANF clients. Current research on TANF sanctioning is descriptive, and few studies estimate the effect of sanctions on client outcomes. To estimate the casual effect of sanctioning, we utilize longitudinal data from Florida and a difference-in-difference propensity-score matching estimator. We compare the growth in earnings of sanctioned clients to a comparable sample of nonsanctioned clients four quarters after exiting TANF and find that sanctioning has a statistically significant negative effect on earnings among TANF clients. The effect is consistent across racial groups, larger among clients with at least 12 years of schooling, and generally increases with the frequency of sanctioning. The finding that sanctioned clients exhibit significantly lower growth in earnings than similar nonsanctioned clients suggests that sanctioning may serve to undermine TANF's goals of reducing welfare use and improving earnings in severely disadvantaged families. (author abstract)

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