What Works Best for Whom: Effects of Welfare and Work Policies by Subgroup

Publication Date: March 15, 2004


This report examines the effects of welfare and work policies on earnings, welfare benefits, income, stable employment, and stable welfare exits across a range of subgroups using information from random assignment studies of 26 welfare and work policies studied by MDRC. No two of the programs are alike, but they used one of five broad approaches: (1) job-search first programs required most welfare recipients to initially look for work; (2) education-first programs initially required most welfare recipients to enroll in education and training; (3) employment-focused mixed-activity programs stressed the importance of finding work but required more job-ready welfare recipients to look for work while allowing others to enroll in education or training programs; (4) education-focused mixed-activity programs likewise used a mix of initial activities but did not stress employment; and (5) earnings supplement programs provided extra financial payments to welfare recipients who went to work.

Current as of: