New York Economic Review


The Impact of Welfare Reform on the Employment and Labor Supply of Female High School Dropouts

Jeffrey T. Lewis

vol. 38, Fall 2007, p. 37-60


Welfare participation began to decline dramatically and low-skill female employment began to rise substantially in the United States during the 1990's. Two competing explanations for these developments are the strong economy and welfare reform. Using pooled cross-sectional data from the 1989-2004 CPS-ORG surveys and employing a sample of female high school dropouts that is not restricted to unmarried women or single mothers, I find that TANF is associated with an increase in both employment and labor supply. The results in this paper, then, strengthen the case in the literature that it was not just the strong economy but also federal welfare reform that contributed to the work gains of low-skill women in the post-1996 period.


suggested citation:

Jeffrey T. Lewis. "The Impact of Welfare Reform on the Employment and Labor Supply of Female High School Dropouts." New York Economic Review. vol. 38, Fall 2007, p. 37-60

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