Spending on Social Welfare Programs in Rich and Poor States. Final Report.. B. Research Questions

07/01/2004

In an effort to understand the relationship between fiscal capacity and state spending on social welfare programs, this study addresses several research questions:

  • How does a state's fiscal capacity affect the proportion of total state spending on social welfare programs? Does a significant difference occur between rich and poor states? Have increases in spending for other services come at the expense of social welfare services, and vice versa?
  • How have states decided to package their services for their low-income populations, including expenditures on cash assistance, Medicaid, child care, child welfare, and other social services?
  • How have economic downturns and booms affected state social welfare spending? What social welfare programs were most affected by economic downturns?
  • How does a states fiscal capacity affect the availability of social welfare services? Do benefit levels and eligibility requirements for social welfare services, including cash assistance, child care, employment, Medicaid, and child welfare, vary based on state fiscal capacity?
  • How have changes in federal program requirements, particularly the adoption of TANF and changes in Medicaid policies, affected states ability to provide social services to low-income populations?
  • Is there a relationship between a states fiscal capacity and the size of its low-income population?
  • How have states with the lowest fiscal capacity adjusted their spending patterns in responses to changes in economic conditions, federal funding, and legislative provisions?

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