Determinants of AFDC Caseload Growth. 4. Other Variables


Other than demographic, economic, and AFDC program variables, there are few examples of additional explanatory variables used in studies of AFDC caseload growth (Exhibit 2.5). Two studies have used indicators of a state's political climate, and several of the individual state models include indicators for policy changes indirectly related to the AFDC program.

One potentially important factor, included in only one caseload model we reviewed, is the Medicaid eligibility expansions that took place during the late 1980s and early 1990s. These changes expanded eligibility for Medicaid beyond AFDC eligibility for certain groups, including pregnant women and young children. Yelowitz (1993) finds that the expansions had a significant negative impact on AFDC participation.

No studies we have examined have looked at the potential impacts of changes in SSI (including state supplements), Social Security Disability Insurance, general assistance, unemployment insurance, or any other program on participation in AFDC. Further, none have included variables for changes in laws concerning child support, abortion policy, or others that might have an impact on participation.

Exhibit 2.5

Other Variables Used in Previous Studies of AFDC Caseload Growth

Variable Type Description Model(s)
Republican Power Annual, state Log of weighted average of percent Republican vote for president and percent of house seats captured by Republicans; values interpolated between election years Shroder (1995)
Liberalism Index Quarterly, state Based on liberal quotients produced by the Americans for Democratic Action in which each U.S. senator and congressperson is assigned a number between 0 to 100 based on their votes on twenty key issues each year; liberalism index averages quotients within each state and standardizes by the national average to avoid temporal bias Cromwell et al. (1986)
Medical Assistance Expansion Monthly, state Dummy representing the expansion of medical assistance for pregnant women and their children Kansas
MinnesotaCare Monthly,


Dummy representing implementation of a subsidized health insurance alternative to Medicaid. Minnesota
Sex Education Monthly, state Dummy equal to one after 1974 when mandatory sex education in schools was initiated. Alabama
Right to Work Bill, 1986 Monthly, state Dummy captures effect of 1986 Right to Work Bill Tennessee