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University of Chicago Press

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In and out of poverty: Episodic poverty and income volatility in the US financial diaries

Individual Author: 
Morduch, Jonathan
Siwicki, Julie

We use data from the US Financial Diaries study to relate episodic poverty to intrayear income volatility and to the availability of government transfers. The US Financial Diaries data track a continuous year’s worth of month-to-month income for 235 low- and moderate-income households, each with at least one employed member, in four regions in the United States. The data provide an unusually granular view of household financial transactions, allowing the documentation of episodic poverty and the attribution of a large share of it to fluctuations in earnings within jobs.

Local job losses and child maltreatment: The importance of community context

Individual Author: 
Schenck-Fontaine, Anika
Gassman-Pines, Anna
Gibson-Davis, Christina
Ananat, Elizabeth

A growing body of literature suggests that economic downturns predict an increase in child maltreatment. However, to inform policies and practices to prevent and intervene in child maltreatment, it is necessary to identify how, when, and under what conditions community-level economic conditions affect child maltreatment.

Child care choices and children’s cognitive achievement: The case of single mothers

Individual Author: 
Bernal, Raquel
Keane, Michael P.

We evaluate the effect of child care versus maternal time inputs on child cognitive development using single mothers from the NLSY79. To deal with nonrandom selection of children into child care, we exploit the exogenous variation in welfare policy rules facing single mothers. In particular, the 1996 welfare reform and earlier state-level policy changes generated substantial increases in their work/child care use. We construct a comprehensive set of welfare policy variables and use them as instruments to estimate child cognitive ability production functions.

Incentive to retrench? Investigating the interactions of state and federal social assistance programs after welfare reform

Individual Author: 
Parolin, Zachary
Luigjes, Christiaan

Spending on cash assistance from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program has declined across the U.S. throughout recent decades. Simultaneously, spending on the federally-funded Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) programs has steadily increased. This papers investigates whether retrenchment of TANF assistance has led to increases in the participation and levels of benefit receipt of SNAP and SSI.

Exploring differences in employment between household and establishment data

Individual Author: 
Abraham, Katharine G.
Haltiwanger, John
Sandusky, Kristin
Spletzer, James R.

Using a large data set that links individual Current Population Survey (CPS) records to employer-reported administrative data, we document substantial discrepancies in basic measures of employment status that persist even after controlling for known definitional differences between the two data sources.

Universal child care, maternal labor supply, and family well-being

Individual Author: 
Baker, Michael
Gruber, Jonathan
Milligan, Kevin

We analyze the introduction of highly subsidized, universally accessible child care in Quebec, addressing the impact of child care utilization, maternal labor supply, and family well-being. We find strong evidence of a shift into new child care use, although some crowding out of existing arrangements is evident. Maternal labor supply increases significantly. Finally, the evidence suggests that children are worse off by measures ranging from aggression to motor and social skills to illness.

The legacy of disadvantage: Multigenerational neighborhood effects on cognitive ability

Individual Author: 
Sharkey, Patrick
Elwert, Felix

This study examines how the neighborhood environments experienced over multiple generations of a family influence children's cognitive ability. Building on recent research showing strong continuity in neighborhood environments across generations of family members, the authors argue for a revised perspective on “neighborhood effects” that considers the ways in which the neighborhood environment in one generation may have a lingering impact on the next generation.

Why are child support orders becoming less likely after divorce?

Individual Author: 
Meyer, Daniel R.
Cancian, Maria
Chen, Yiyu

Despite substantial policy attention to increasing the number of custodial parents with child support orders, the proportion reporting that they are owed child support is falling. Potential explanations for this include increases in shared custody, increases in the number of noncustodial parents who have low incomes (or incomes lower than the custodial parent), and growing discretion to decide whether to participate in the formal child support system.

The impact of the Earned Income Tax Credit on incentives and income distribution

Individual Author: 
Liebman, Jeffrey B.

For more than three decades, economists have advocated the use of the tax system as a means of transferring income to low-income families. Studying the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) offers the opportunity to learn how well the tax system functions in roles traditionally handled by the welfare system. There are two features of the EITC that distinguish it from other U.S. income transfer programs. First, the EITC budget constraint is unusual--in particular, only taxpayers who work are eligible for the EITC.

Involvement of TANF applicant families with child welfare services

Individual Author: 
Courtney, Mark E.
Dworsky, Amy
Piliavin, Irving
Zinn, Andrew

Few studies examine the relationship between welfare and child welfare populations in the wake of welfare reform. This article compares child welfare services involvement between 1996 Aid to Families with Dependent Children entrants and 1999 Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) applicants in Wisconsin.