NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families

James P. Ziliak

NBER Working Paper No. 21038
Issued in March 2015
NBER Program(s):Children, Labor Studies, Public Economics

In this chapter I provide a brief history of the TANF program, including changes made as part of the 2005 Deficit Reduction Act. I then present a variety of program statistics, including trends in aggregate and state-level caseloads and spending, along with changes in the demographic composition of the program, especially the shift from adult with child cases to child-only cases. I also highlight the changing composition of spending on the program from cash assistance to in-kind assistance, and the challenges faced in documenting total (cash + in-kind) caseloads and spending. I follow this with a discussion of the behavioral issues surrounding TANF, including the four program goals and possible modifications as part of the 2014 reauthorization legislation, and then I provide a systematic review of the research evidence on whether those goals have been met.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w21038

Published: Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, James P. Ziliak. in Economics of Means-Tested Transfer Programs in the United States, volume 1, Moffitt. 2016

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