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date: 22 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

In this chapter, I review the research investigating the effects of welfare and employment policies on children's circumstances and development. A rich body of research comprises random assignment experiments testing policy variations as well as longitudinal investigations spanning the period of policy change before and after 1996. Both experimental tests and longitudinal studies indicate that, on average, parents’ transitions from welfare into employment produced little change in overall family income and little discernible effect on children's cognitive or social development or on the immediate family environment, but nuanced assessments indicate that effects on children's well-being vary depending on the features of the policies in place. The goal of this chapter is to illuminate how such policy variations matter for children's well-being. I conclude by discussing important welfare-to-work policy lessons.

Keywords: welfare-to-work, policies, child development, employment

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