The inclusion of racial/ethnic minorities is often considered an important factor leading to a relatively limited American welfare system. However, given the federal nature of welfare eligibility rules and the states' role in determining benefit levels, few studies explicitly link questions of inclusion and benefit levels when explaining the evolution of American welfare policy. This study examines the relationship between inclusion and benefit levels by analyzing state policies related to the welfare reforms of 1996 which allowed states to decide if recent immigrants would be included in welfare benefits, and subsequently the extent to which this decision affected overall benefit levels offered by states under TANF. The results suggest that states' decisions regarding inclusion subsequently affect benefit levels, with the direction of these relationships most closely reflecting the erosion model's prediction of broader eligibility associated with lower benefit levels.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science
- Political Science and International Relations