To answer the research questions identified in the Introduction, first we analyzed spending trends and patterns over 24 years for the 50 states plus the District of Columbia by using sample means from Census data and an econometric model estimated from the pooled time series and cross-section data. We supplemented this analysis with site visits and further analysis of qualitative and quantitative data from six states, selected as having high needs relative to their fiscal capacity. The econometric model estimates were used to identify states exhibiting a high propensity to spend on certain types of social welfare. Employing this information, we drew comparisons between rich states and poor states in general and also among the six states for which we had additional case study data.
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