When Single Mothers Return to Work: Evaluating the Long-Term Impacts of Welfare Reform on Children's Outcomes

Publication Date


Grant Type

Early Career Research Award


This project will investigate the long-term impact of maternal employment on children’s outcomes in the context of the welfare reforms of the 1990s--reforms that coincided with a sharp increase in labor-force participation among single mothers. I will link data on outcomes for adolescents and teens from the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) to their mothers’ work history in Social Security Administration (SSA) records. I will use variation across states and over time in AFDC/TANF work exemptions based on the age of youngest child to instrument for mothers’ employment status in the year after a birth.