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How do welfare sanctions work? New findings from Wisconsin and Illinois

Date Added to Library: 
Friday, April 4, 2014 - 12:57
Individual Author: 
Wu, Chi-Fang
Cancian, Maria
Meyer, Daniel
Joo Lee, Bong
Slack, Kristen
Lewis, Dan
Reference Type: 
Research Methodology: 
Published Date: 
Winter 2004
Published Date (Text): 
Winter 2004
Issue Number: 
Page Range: 

Existing research concerning sanctions, mostly based upon cross-sectional studies of those leaving welfare, suggests that sanctioned families resemble long-time welfare recipients in a number of respects. They are more disadvantaged than even the average welfare recipient— younger, less educated, less likely to live with a partner and more likely to have been in an abusive relationship in the past year. They are more likely to have grown up in a welfare-receiving family or to have health problems or children with health problems. As a group, they are more likely to have immediate practical disadvantages also— higher levels of financial strain, as evidenced by utility cutoffs, no car, or no telephone service.

The two projects summarized here broke new ground in the study of sanctions. Both made use of longitudinal data. Chi-Fang Wu, Maria Cancian, and Daniel R. Meyer used administrative data from Wisconsin to examine the dynamic patterns of sanctioning (their severity, timing, and duration), the factors associated with being sanctioned, and the relationship between sanctions and subsequent welfare outcomes for sanctioned women. Bong Joo Lee, Kristen Shook Slack, and Dan A. Lewis used survey and administrative data from the Illinois Families Study (IFS) to examine whether and how welfare sanctions are associated with work activity, levels of earnings, welfare receipt, and material hardships among TANF recipients. (author abstract) 

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