The Incentive Effects of Cash Transfers to the Poor
All redistributive and social insurance programs trade off the potential benefits of transfers with the disincentives these programs generate. We investigate this trade-off using newly collected lifetime data for 16,000 women who applied to the Mothers’ Pension Program, the first cash transfer program in the US. In the short-run cash transfers reduced geographic mobility and delayed marriage of recipients but did not affect who they married or where they moved to. In the long run transfers had no effect on work, marriage or fertility behaviors. They also did not improve the economic conditions of recipients or their longevity.
Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w27523