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The effects of welfare reform on the academic performance of children in low-income households

By Amalia R. Miller and Lei Zhang


During the 1990s, U.S. welfare policy underwent dramatic reforms aimed at promoting employment and reducing dependence. Although the immediate effects on adult labor supply and family income have been studied extensively, this paper is the first to evaluate the long-run effects on children's well-being. Using a decade of national math achievement data and controlling for contemporaneous changes in education policy and environment, we associate welfare reform with relative test score improvements for low-income students. Greater gains occur in states with larger initial welfare caseloads and larger caseload reductions.© 2009 by the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management.

DOI identifier: 10.1002/pam.20456
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