other public assistance after leaving, and how self-sufficient they are after they leave. In discussing each of these outcomes, results are presented separately across different types of welfare leavers based on their past welfare receipt and work histories. This section also examines the outcomes of cases classified as “high-barrier” leavers-that is, those who face multiple barriers to gaining self-sufficiency. The outcomes of this group are presented in an attempt to estimate a lower bound on outcomes of leavers. Section 5 examines the importance of past welfare receipt and work history measures in a multivariate setting. Probit models of the probability of leaving welfare and of being employed a year after leaving welfare, controlling for welfare and earnings histories, as well as demographic characteristics of leavers, are estimated. Tobit estimates of post-welfare earnings, controlling for welfare and work histories and demographic characteristics also are given. The coefficients from these models are then used to predict outcomes of different high-barrier groups to assess how cases with multiple barriers to self-sufficiency fare after leaving welfare.

This study was undertaken as part of a set of papers that explore the importance of caseload composition factors for outcomes of welfare leavers. Moffitt (this volume: Chapter 14) uses the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth data from 1979 to 1996 to describe the welfare receipt and employment experiences of young women ages 20–29. Stevens (2000) uses AFDC and Unemployment Insurance administrative records from Maryland and draws multiple cohorts of leavers across time periods. The past AFDC and work histories of these cohorts are described and employment outcomes after leaving welfare are compared across cases with different welfare receipt and work experience histories.

This study also builds on a series of papers on AFDC leavers in Wisconsin that has been conducted by researchers at the Institute for Research on Poverty at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.2 These reports have examined employment, earnings, and benefit receipt after leaving welfare for a cohort of July 1995 AFDC recipients who left AFDC in the following year.


Data for this study come from the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development CARES system, which contains information collected through the administration of AFDC and other means-tested programs. These data were matched to earnings and employment data from the state’s UI system. All persons in the data used in this study received AFDC benefits in Wisconsin in July 1995. These cases were tracked with linked administrative data from January 1989 until December 1997, providing up to 9 years of data for each case.


See Cancian, M. et al. (1999); Cancian et al., (2000a); and Cancian, M., Haveman, R., Meyer, D.R., and Wolfe, B. (2000b).

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