Cover: The Relationship Between the Economy and the Welfare Caseload

The Relationship Between the Economy and the Welfare Caseload

A Dynamic Approach

Published 2004

by Steven Haider, Jacob Alex Klerman, Elizabeth Roth

Purchase Print Copy

Add to Cart Paperback31 pages Free

Nationally, the welfare caseload declined by more than 50% between 1994 and 2000. Considerable research has been devoted to understanding what caused this decline. Much of the literature examining these changes has modeled the total caseload (the stock) directly. Klerman and Haider (forthcoming) model the underlying flows and show analytically and empirically that previous methods are likely to be biased because they ignore important dynamics. However, due to their focus on the bias of the stock models, they present only limited results concerning the robustness of their findings and utilize only a single measure of economic conditions, the unemployment rate. This paper examines the robustness of the basic stock-flow model developed in Klerman and Haider (forthcoming), considering both richer dynamic specifications and richer measures of economic condition. We find that more complex dynamic specifications do not change the substantive conclusions, but richer measures of the economy do. While a model that only includes the unemployment rate attributes about half of the California caseload decline between 1995 and 1998 to the economy, models that incorporate richer measures of the economy attribute more than 90% of the decline to the economy.

Originally published in: Research in Labor Economics, v. 22, 2003, pp. 39-69.

This report is part of the RAND reprint series. The Reprint was a product of RAND from 1992 to 2011 that represented previously published journal articles, book chapters, and reports with the permission of the publisher. RAND reprints were formally reviewed in accordance with the publisher's editorial policy and compliant with RAND's rigorous quality assurance standards for quality and objectivity. For select current RAND journal articles, see External Publications.

This document and trademark(s) contained herein are protected by law. This representation of RAND intellectual property is provided for noncommercial use only. Unauthorized posting of this publication online is prohibited; linking directly to this product page is encouraged. Permission is required from RAND to reproduce, or reuse in another form, any of its research documents for commercial purposes. For information on reprint and reuse permissions, please visit

RAND is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.