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The Employment, Earnings, and Income of Single Mothers in Wisconsin Who Left Cash Assistance



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Institute for Research on Poverty Special Report no 85 The Employment Earnings and Income of Single Mothers in Wisconsin Who Left Cash Assistance Comparisons among Three Cohorts Maria Cancian Robert Haveman Daniel R Meyer Barbara Wolfe Institute for Research on Poverty University of Wisconsin Madison January 2003 This research was funded by the U S Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation Data were provided by the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development Opinions expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the sponsoring institutions The authors thank Sandra Barone and Yoonyoung Cho for research assistance Tom Kaplan and Ingrid Rothe for substantive discussions on this topic Dawn Duren and Elizabeth Evanson for preparation of the manuscript and Pat Brown and Dan Ross for assistance with the data IRP Publications discussion papers special reports and the newsletter Focus are available on the Internet The IRP Web site can be accessed at the following address http www ssc wisc edu irp Abstract We use administrative data from Wisconsin to compare employment earnings and income outcomes for welfare leavers under early AFDC reforms and under the later more stringent TANF program We consider outcomes for women leaving welfare in 1999 updating an earlier analysis of those who left welfare in 1995 and 1997 We find substantially higher rates of exit in the later periods Later leavers are somewhat more likely to work but their earnings are lower We also make a pre post comparison of individual employment and income experiences examining a leaver s outcomes during a calendar quarter of welfare receipt with these outcomes a year after leaving welfare On average substantial earnings growth is outweighed by declines in benefits resulting in reduced total measured net income The reductions in income from before to after exit are greater for those in the 1995 cohort relative to those in the 1997



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