Temporary Assistance for Needy Families
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.
I thank Robert Paul Hartley, Alexa Prettyman, and Lewis Warren for research assistance. I also thank Marianne Bitler, Colleen Heflin, Robert Moffitt, Shana Moore, Donna Pavetti, Liz Schott, Steve Ziliak, and seminar participants at the NBER for helpful comments. Financial support for the chapter from the Smith-Richardson Foundation, via the NBER, is gratefully acknowledged. The views expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, James P. Ziliak. in Economics of Means-Tested Transfer Programs in the United States, Volume 1, Moffitt. 2016