Public Assistance Programs

In the last two decades, RAND studies have investigated key issues at the national, state, and local level regarding components of the social safety net, including cash and in-kind transfer programs. Notably, RAND is currently conducting an evaluation of reforms, implemented in 2013, to California's Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program known as CalWORKs (California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids). The SB 1041 evaluation includes a survey of all county welfare office directors, interviews and focus groups in a set of focal counties, analysis of administrative data to track recipiency patterns, and a longitudinal survey of a sample of welfare recipients.

RAND also conducted an earlier statewide evaluation of CalWORKs following the 1997 reforms, with a series of studies that focused on program implementation at the state and county level and the impact on CalWORKs recipients. Other studies have synthesized research on the impacts of reforms to safety net programs and examined the behavioral consequences of specific safety net programs. RAND's research covers the following topics:

  • AFDC/TANF: Aid to Families with Dependent Children / Temporary Assistance for Needy Families
  • CalWORKs: California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids
  • Child Nutrition Programs: School breakfast and lunch programs
  • EITC: Earned Income Tax Credit
  • Medicaid
  • SNAP: Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly Food Stamps)
  • SSI: Supplemental Security Income
  • WIC: Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children

Publications from these studies are listed by program and resulting databases are also described.