How Effective Are Different Welfare-to-Work Approaches? Five-Year Adult and Child Impacts for Eleven Programs. Combined Income Over Five Years

12/01/2001

The upper panel of Table 6.1 shows average income over five years for program and control group members in each program, as well as the impact of each program, measured as usual as the difference between the program and control groups. For this analysis, sample members' income is the sum of their earnings, welfare payments, Food Stamps, and estimated Earned Income Tax Credits (EITCs) less estimated payroll taxes.(4)

 

Table 6.1
Impacts on Combined Income in Years 1 to 5

Site and Program

Sample Size Program Group Control Group Difference (Impact) Percentage Change (%)

Average combined income in years 1 to 5 ($)

Atlanta Labor Force Attachment 2,938 41,138 39,987 1,152 2.9
Atlanta Human Capital Development 2,992 41,120 39,987 1,133 2.8
Grand Rapids Labor Force Attachment 3,012 40,739 42,172 -1,433* -3.4
Grand Rapids Human Capital Development 2,997 40,925 42,172 -1,247 -3.0
Riverside Labor Force Attachment 6,726 38,929 39,804 -875 -2.2
Lacked high school diploma or basic skills 3,125 37,030 38,311 -1,280 -3.3
Riverside Human Capital Development 3,135 35,924 38,311 -2,387*** -6.2
Columbus Integrated 4,672 44,037 44,478 -441 -1.0
Columbus Traditional 4,729 44,232 44,478 -246 -0.6
Detroit 4,459 48,256 47,685 571 1.2
Oklahoma City 8,677 n/a n/a n/a n/a
Portland 4,028 43,677 41,807 1,870 4.5

Earnings as a percentage of combined income (%)

Atlanta Labor Force Attachment 2,938 36.0 32.4 3.5 *** 10.9
Atlanta Human Capital Development 2,992 35.4 32.4 3.0 *** 9.1
Grand Rapids Labor Force Attachment 3,012 43.7 39.8 3.9 *** 9.9
Grand Rapids Human Capital Development 2,997 42.0 39.8 2.3 ** 5.7
Riverside Labor Force Attachment 6,726 34.1 28.6 5.5 *** 19.1
Lacked high school diploma or basic skills 3,125 28.5 22.8 5.7 *** 25.0
Riverside Human Capital Development 3,135 26.3 22.8 3.5 *** 15.2
Columbus Integrated 4,672 48.6 44.3 4.3 *** 9.8
Columbus Traditional 4,729 46.9 44.3 2.6 *** 5.8
Detroit 4,459 35.8 33.1 2.7 *** 8.0
Oklahoma City 8,677 n/a n/a n/a n/a
Portland 4,028 45.5 38.7 6.8 *** 17.7
SOURCE:В  MDRC calculations from state and county administrative records.
NOTES: See Appendix A.1.

Over five years, control group members in five sites received between $40,000 and $45,000 in combined income, or about $8,000 to $9,000 per year. Control group members in Detroit received a slightly larger amount: $9,500 per year (Table 6.1, upper panel).(5) Control group members differed in the proportion of their combined income that was made up by earnings: about 30 percent of combined income in Atlanta, Detroit, and Riverside over five years, compared with about 40 percent in Columbus, Grand Rapids, and Portland (Table 6.1, lower panel).

Programs in the NEWWS Evaluation generally did not increase sample members' income relative to the control group. More often, they helped program group members substitute earnings and EITC for welfare and Food Stamps but left them with about the same level of income as control group members. This finding applies to LFA and HCD programs and, more generally, to employment- and education-focused programs.

There were some differences in program effects on combined income, but impacts varied by site rather than program approach. In Atlanta LFA and HCD and Portland, program group members received from 2.8 to 4.5 percent more in combined income than control group members, although these program-control group differences were just above the 0.10 level of statistical significance.(6) (See Table 6.1.) In contrast, both programs in Grand Rapids and Riverside reduced combined income over five years by 2.2 to 6.2 percent below control group levels.(7) The programs in Columbus and Detroit affected income very little.

The general inability of welfare-to-work services and mandates to increase income is not specific to programs studied in the NEWWS Evaluation. Results from San Diego's Saturation Work Initiative Model (SWIM), California's Greater Avenues for Independence (GAIN) program, Los Angeles County's Jobs First GAIN program, and Florida's Project Independence were similar: even when programs increased earnings, they seldom increased income very much.(8)