The Low-Wage Labor Market: Challenges and Opportunities for Economic Self-Sufficiency. Can the Labor Market Absorb Three Million Welfare Recipients?. Footnotes


*  © 1998 by Gary Burtless, 1775 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20036, USA.  I gratefully acknowledge the research assistance of Stacy Sneeringer.  The views are those of the author and should not be ascribed to the Brookings Institution, the Urban Institute.

1.  This view of the labor market underlies the analysis in Blank (1995) and Burtless (1995).

2.  A version of the queuing model is the basis for analysis in Holzer and Danziger (1998).

3.  See the Lane chapter and the Holzer chapter in this volume for detailed discussions of this mismatch.

4.  U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census (1997), p. 4.

5.  U.S. Congress (1996).

6.  Burtless (1995), p. 77.

7.  Over 60 percent of first-time claimants for welfare report work experience within the year prior to filing for AFDC (Pavetti (1995), p. 33).

8.  The control group consisted of randomly selected AFDC recipeints who were not enrolled in the experimental work and training program. See Friedlander and Burtless (1995), p. 88. 

9.  U.S. Congress House of Representatives, Ways and Means Committee (1996), p. 479.

10.  Burtless, forthcoming. 

11.  Silvestri (1997).

12.  Silvestri (1997), p. 81.

13.  Abraham (1983); Zagorsky (1998).

14.  Newman and Lemmon (1995).

15.  Holzer (1996).

16.  Holzer and Danziger (1998).

17.  The increases in labor force participation and employment rates among never-married mothers, the mothers most affected by reform, were even larger.  Never-married mothers saw their labor force participation rate increase 18 percentage points (33 percent) and their employment-population ratio rise 17.5 percentage points (40 percent) between 1993 and 1998.  These increases occurred after a period of 15 years in which the participation and employment-population rates of never-married mothers rose very modestly.

18.  Without additional information, it is unclear how we should compare the 1.8-million drop in the welfare caseload with the 972,000 rise in employment among divorced, separated, and never-married mothers.  As noted earlier, 8 percent of the 1994 caseload consisted of families containing two parents. Most of the impact of new welfare rules on two-parent families will probably be reflected in changes in behavior of married men and women rather than of single women.  Another 17 percent of the 1994 caseload consisted of families where no adult was a member of the assisted family unit.  The new welfare rules might have only a slight effect on the work behavior of people in these households.  Finally, the new rules may have affected the welfare status but not the employment status of single women on welfare who already held jobs.  Some of these women may have been spurred to increase their weekly hours or to leave the rolls, but this change in their behavior would have no impact on their employment status; they were employed both before and after the change.  It seems highly likely, however, that the big and unprecedented jump in employment among single mothers is closely connected to the big and unprecedented drop in the welfare caseload.

19.  The Bureau of Labor Statistics classifies each occupation according to its historical unemployment risk.  Occupations are divided into four risk categories, ranging from "very low" to "very high" risk of employment.

20.  Pawasarat 1997a, 1997b.

21.  Other states have also conducted studies of welfare "leavers," many with support from HHS.  While survey methods vary somewhat, the general findings are similar.  See Brauner and Loprest (1999).