Approaches to Evaluating Welfare Reform: Lessons from Five State Demonstrations. Notes

10/01/1996

(1) We focus on experimental evaluations because baseline data collection in these evaluations has typically received less attention. Data collection needs are similar in nonexperimental evaluations with comparison site designs. In nonexperimental designs in which a pre-program sample (or pre-program data on the same sample) serves as a comparison group, data needs typically are greater--comparable to those for the demonstration follow-up period.

(2)UI records data are data collected from employers and maintained by state UI agencies to use in determining whether an individual qualifies for UI benefits. These data include information on all jobs individuals hold in a quarter and total earnings in each quarter for each job. These data generally are available to other state agencies for legitimate research (with appropriate confidentiality restrictions).

(3)For example, in the evaluation of the Minority Female Single Parent Demonstration, there were 12-month and 30-month follow-up interviews. By recontacting all sample members for the 30-month interview, regardless of whether they had completed the 12-month interview, response rates for the 30-month interview were increased from 73 to 80 percent (Rangarajan et al.1992).

(4)In computer-assisted telephone interviewing (CATI), the survey instrument appears before the interviewer on a computer screen, and responses are typed directly into a computer. Skips of particular questions based on particular responses may be programmed into the computer, reducing the scope for interviewer error, and the data entered by interviewers is converted directly into a research database. The availability of portable personal computers has led to recent growth of computer-assisted personal interviewing (CAPI), but this technology is less widely available.

(5)As noted earlier, the impact evaluation in California will rely mostly on baseline data from administrative records.

(6)The Wave I foreign language survey had a higher response rate than the English/Spanish survey (around 70 percent).