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Welfare Reform

Welfare Reform

Effects of a Decade of Change

Jeffrey Grogger, Lynn A. Karoly

ISBN 9780674018914

Publication date: 10/30/2005

During the 1990s the United States undertook the greatest social policy reform since the Social Security Act of 1935. In Welfare Reform: Effects of a Decade of Change, Jeffrey Grogger and Lynn Karoly assemble evidence from numerous studies, including nearly three dozen social experiments, to assess how welfare reform has affected behavior. To broaden our understanding of this wide-ranging policy reform, the authors evaluate the evidence in relation to an economic model of behavior. The evidence they collect reveals the trade-offs that policymakers face in achieving the conflicting goals of promoting work, reducing dependency, and alleviating need among the poor. Finally, the authors identify numerous areas where important gaps remain in our understanding of the effects of welfare reform.

The book will be a crucial resource for policy economists, social policy specialists, other professionals concerned with welfare policy, and students.


  • It is likely that future scholarship on U.S. welfare reform will take Grogger-Karoly as the starting point, view it as the definitive assessment of the state of the art, and use it as a springboard for future research. Scholars who want to assemble and assess evidence on the effects of policy changes in other policy arenas will want to consult this work as an exemplar of how to do it well.

    —Robert Plotnick, University of Washington


  • Jeffrey T. Grogger is Irving Harris Professor in Urban Policy, Harris School of Public Policy, University of Chicago.
  • Lynn A. Karoly is Senior Economist, RAND Corporation.

Book Details

  • 352 pages
  • 7 x 10 inches
  • Harvard University Press