Determinants of AFDC Caseload Growth. B. DEPENDENT VARIABLES

07/01/1997

For both the Basic and UP programs, we estimate three participation models: caseload, total recipients, and child recipients. In addition, we estimate an average monthly benefit per family (AMB) for the combined programs. We have defined the dependent variables for each model as follows:

  • Caseload -- the natural logarithm of the average monthly caseload (i.e., families receiving a payment of at least $10 during the month) in the program during the quarter.(1)
  • Total Recipients -- the natural logarithm of the average monthly number of recipients (i.e., individuals in families receiving a payment of at least $10 during the month) in the program during the quarter.
  • Child Recipients -- the natural logarithm of the average monthly number of child recipients ( i.e., children in families receiving a payment of at least $10 during the month) in the program during the quarter.
  • Average Monthly Benefits (AMB) -- the natural log of the combined average monthly payment per family for the Basic and UP programs during the quarter divided by the appropriate regional CPI-U, for each program.(2)

We acquired electronic caseload data from the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) for both the Basic and UP programs, by month, for the period from October 1978 through March 1995. ACF likewise provided us with total recipient data for both the Basic and UP programs for the period from October 1982 through March 1995. ASPE supplemented the ACF data with total recipient data extracted from the database assembled by Grossman (1985) for the period from January 1978 through September 1982. ACF also supplied us with child recipient data from January 1978 through March 1995. We received these data in a combination of electronic and hard copy formats. All participation data used in the model match those published in the ACF publication Quarterly Public Assistance Statistics and its monthly predecessor, Public Assistance Statistics.

The state-level AMB data are for the period from 1980.1 through 1993.4 only, and were obtained from numerous editions of Quarterly Public Assistance Statistics.

We obtained the regional CPIs electronically from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. There are indices for four regions: North East, North Central, Southern, and Western. The regional CPIs appear bimonthly from 1980 through 1986 and monthly from 1986 to the present. We calculate quarterly values from the bimonthly/monthly indices.(3)