A food stamps success story

Study co-authored by economics Ph.D. candidate Elira Kuka is cited by PBS.

It is an understatement to say that the welfare reforms of the 1990s were intended to give a little spring to the social safety net.

The intention was much more radical. The reforms involved a major make-over of income support, and turning what was imagined as a net ensnarling many Americans behind a welfare wall, into a springboard that would incentivize work and allow them to ride a wave of prosperity to higher incomes that would lift their children out of poverty.

But this kind of reform is hardly what is needed when times turn bad.

Marianne Bitler, Hilary Hoynes and Elira Kuka, economists at, respectively, UC Irvine, UC Berkeley, and UC Davis, who authored this more detailed assessment for UNICEF, clearly document the failure of the job market to eliminate child poverty. About one-in-six children were poor before the recession when only market and other private sources of income are considered, and this shot up to about one-in-four in 2010.

Read more at PBS.