A Matter of Effectiveness: Understanding the Relationship between Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Funding and Self-Sufficiency Open Access

Knapp, Tara Sara (2014)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/j96021124?locale=en
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Abstract

This paper seeks to analyze current welfare programs and evaluate the associated welfare and poverty outcomes. It assumes that the choices that states make, both monetary and non-monetary benefit initiatives, regarding their block grant funding are likely to have important consequences that affect how poverty is addressed and poverty alleviation policies are implemented. Through examining the factors that directly contribute to poverty, this paper hypothesizes that TANF programs that seek to make work pay--ultimately make it more profitable for a TANF recipient to work than to live off of welfare--are more likely to decrease the instance of poverty in US states. By comparing the policy packages implemented in each state to the changes in the number of people below the poverty line in each state, this study found that work support spending does not significantly impact the poverty rate, but the work support variable was shown to have significantly impacted the unemployment rate, both alone and when combined with TANF generosity dimensions. This indicates that the capacity for employment of the impoverished is not an isolated issue in welfare spending and that, because increased jobs are not reducing poverty, there may be a lack of quality work opportunities available for recipients of work support funding.

Table of Contents

Introduction..............................................................................................................1

The Evolution of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF).............................1

Theory: Poverty Framework.......................................................................................10

Theory: Underlying Factors of the "New Paradigm"........................................................15

State Policy Packages...............................................................................................24

Hypothesis..............................................................................................................32

Research Design......................................................................................................33

Dependent Variables (Poverty Rate, Unemployment, and Caseloads).................................33

Independent Variables (TANF Work-Supports and Generosity)..........................................35

TANF Work Supports.........................................................................................36

Generosity......................................................................................................38

Factors that Contribute to State Variance in Welfare (Controls)........................................39

Ideological......................................................................................................40

Political..........................................................................................................42

Demographic...................................................................................................43

Economic........................................................................................................43

Results and Analysis..................................................................................................44

Conclusion...............................................................................................................54

Works Cited.............................................................................................................60

List of Tables

Set 1: Effects of Work Supports on State Welfare Poverty Outcomes.................................45

Set 2: Effects of Generosity on State Welfare Poverty Outcomes.......................................49

Set 3: Effects of Work Supports and Generosity on State Welfare Poverty Outcome..............52

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