Studies of Welfare Populations: Data Collection and Research Issues. Work History Variables

06/01/2002

Earnings information from Unemployment Insurance records from first quarter 1989 to fourth quarter 1997 are used in this study. A variable for the percentage of quarters with any earnings in the preexit period was created and used to stratify outcomes (number of quarters from 1989 to 1995 with positive earnings divided by total number of quarters between first quarter 1989 and third quarter 1995). The percentage of quarters with earnings was divided into the following categories to make comparisons feasible: (1) those who had never worked in the preexit period; (2) those who had worked at least one quarter but no more than 25 percent of the quarters in the preexit period; (3) those who had worked more than 25 percent of the quarters but not more than 50 percent of the quarters; (4) those who had worked more than 50 percent of the quarters but not more than 75 percent of the quarters; and (5) those who had worked more than 75 percent of the quarters. Each outcome of interest is also stratified by these categories of work history. Again, earnings records from other states are not available for those who move into Wisconsin. Also, no standardization for the age of the case head was made in this measure. The youngest welfare recipients in July 1995 are likely to have worked fewer quarters than older recipients. Thus, we expect the average age of groups with less work experience to be lower than the average age of groups with more work experience.

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