Welfare reform and the myth of the marketplace

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6 Scopus citations


The underlying value of the welfare reform initiatives of the 1990s is individual responsibility for economic well-being. Policymakers posit that if each person on public assistance would take full responsibility for her or his life, then the problem of welfare dependence would be solved. This article analyzes the flaws and myths of this perception. Trend analysis of employment of women heads of households demonstrates that historically the marketplace has never provided sufficient employment to raise public assistance families out of poverty. Welfare reform efforts will not help poor families, and the beliefs emanating from the welfare reform debate disregard the important role of social responsibility.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5-18
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Poverty
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1997


  • Dependence
  • Individual responsibility
  • Job market
  • Marketplace
  • Social responsibility
  • Welfare reform
  • Women heads of household

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Demography
  • Sociology and Political Science


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