Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Trend in net disposable income of low -income single mother families from 1993 to 2002 in the U.S.: Before and after 1996 welfare reform
by Ahn, Haksoon, Ph.D., Brandeis University, The Heller School for Social Policy and Management, 2009, 168; 3342176
Abstract (Summary)

The purpose of this study is to examine economic well-being of low-income single mother families before and after The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) of 1996. In this dissertation, the concept of “net family disposable income” after deduction for taxes and child care costs is operationalized as the indicator of economic well-being. This dissertation is the first to take account of childcare costs to see the changes of low-income single mothers’ net income.

The analysis is a cross sectional study limited to three cohorts. The first cohort is a pre-reform cohort surveyed in 1993 and 1994; the second cohort was surveyed in 1997, directly after welfare reform; the third cohort was surveyed in 2002, a period of economic recession. The sample is defined as single mothers aged 16 to 54. A family is defined as “low-income” if family income falls below 200 percent of the official poverty level. Core and Topical modules from the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) panel data conducted by the Census Bureau are used.

Results showed that net family disposable income of single mothers in the bottom 20th percentile of family income decreased severely between 1993 and 2002, although they were found to be working more and their earnings increased after the welfare reform. Their earnings were still modest and offset by a decline in public benefits and an increase in childcare costs.

The regression results showed that the interaction term indicating the period after welfare reform and poor single mothers has a statistically significant association with net family disposable income. The coefficient of the interaction term implies that low-income single mothers’ net disposable income decreased by 19 percent after the welfare reform. Education level and work experience also had a significant effect on net family disposable income.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Gil, David
Commitee: Bernstein, Jared, Godoy, Ricardo, Kahne, Hilda, Ritter, Grant
School: Brandeis University, The Heller School for Social Policy and Management
Department: The Heller School for Social Policy and Management
School Location: United States -- Massachusetts
Source: DAI-A 70/01, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Womens studies, Economics, Individual & family studies, Public policy
Keywords: Families and children, Income analysis, PRWORA, Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act, SIPP data, Single mother families, TANF, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Welfare reform
Publication Number: 3342176
ISBN: 9780549994169
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