Approaches to Evaluating Welfare Reform: Lessons from Five State Demonstrations. A. DISTINGUISHING IMPACTS OF SPECIFIC POLICY CHANGES

10/01/1996

State welfare reform demonstrations usually include changes in several policies. For example, in recent years, many states have combined work requirements for welfare recipients with measures (such as more generous earned income deductions and higher asset limits) to make work pay. Policymakers and evaluators may want to distinguish impacts of specific welfare policy changes. Such analyses could identify which components of a welfare reform package are most effective in achieving particular goals.

The welfare reform waiver system has recognized the importance of distinguishing impacts of specific policy changes. When multiple welfare reform policies have been implemented under a single welfare reform waiver demonstration, the terms and conditions of Section 1115 welfare waivers have required the evaluator to "discuss the feasibility of evaluating the impact of individual provisions" of the total package. When multiple welfare reform policies have been implemented under separate welfare reform waiver demonstrations, the terms and conditions of Section 1115 welfare waivers have stated that "possible confounding effects from other demonstrations ...must be addressed in detail."