Welfare background, attitudes, and employment among new mothers

by Lisa Greenwell, Arleen Leibowitz, Jacob Alex Klerman

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This article investigates whether new mothers' chances of being employed appear to be influenced by an intergenerationally transmitted welfare culture. Data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth are analyzed using logit and ordinary least squares regression. The findings show that, as adolescents, new mothers with welfare backgrounds were more willing than others to use welfare but were no less likely to have positive attitudes toward work. Adolescents' work attitudes influence their chances of being employed when they are new mothers, but adolescents' welfare attitudes do not. These results suggest that new mothers' chances of being employed are not influenced by an intergenerationally transmitted welfare culture.

Originally published in: Journal of Marriage and the Family, v. 60, no. 1, February 1998, pp. 175-193.

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