NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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Safety Net Investments in Children

Hilary W. Hoynes, Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach

NBER Working Paper No. 24594
Issued in May 2018
NBER Program(s):Children, Labor Studies, Public Economics

In this paper, we examine what groups of children are served by core childhood social-safety net programs—including Medicaid, EITC, CTC, SNAP, and AFDC/TANF—and how that’s changed over time. We find that virtually all gains in spending on the social safety net for children since 1990 have gone to families with earnings, and to families with income above the poverty line. This is the result of welfare reform and the expansion of in work tax credits. We review the available research and find that access to safety net programs during childhood leads to benefits for children and society over the long run. This evidence suggests that the changes to the social safety net may have lasting negative impacts on the poorest children.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w24594

 
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