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18 - Effects of Welfare and Employment Policies on Middle-Childhood School Performance: Do They Vary by Race/Ethnicity and, If So, Why?

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  16 September 2009

Hirokazu Yoshikawa
Affiliation:
Associate Professor of Psychology and Public Policy, New York University
Pamela Morris
Affiliation:
Deputy Director for the Policy Area on Family Well-Being and Children's Development, MDRC – Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation
Lisa Gennetian
Affiliation:
Senior Research Associate, MDRC – Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation
Amanda L. Roy
Affiliation:
Doctoral Student in the Department of Psychology, New York University
Anna Gassman-Pines
Affiliation:
Doctoral Student in the Department of Psychology, New York University
Erin B. Godfrey
Affiliation:
Doctoral Student in the Department of Psychology, New York University
Aletha C. Huston
Affiliation:
University of Texas, Austin
Marika N. Ripke
Affiliation:
University of Hawaii, Manoa
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Summary

In recent years, research examining the effects of welfare and antipoverty policies on children and adolescents has surged (Chase-Lansdale et al., 2003; Gennetian et al., 2002; Morris, Huston, Duncan, Crosby, & Bos, 2001; Huston et al., 2001; Yoshikawa, Rosman, & Hsueh, 2001; Yoshikawa, Magnuson, Bos, & Hsueh, 2003). Much of this interest has stemmed from the implementation of large-scale, nonexperimental and experimental studies assessing the effects of particular welfare-to-work approaches on school performance. These studies, in turn, were motivated by policy developments, starting in the 1980s, that first resulted in the Family Support Act of 1988; then over the course of the 1990s a series of welfare policy waiver programs in many states, and culminated in the passage of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (Weaver, 2000). That legislation transformed the welfare system in the United States from an entitlement program to one contingent on work effort and subject to a cumulative lifetime limit of 60 months. As of this writing, that act is still in the process of reauthorization in the U.S. Congress.

Little research has examined whether race/ethnicity might moderate the effects of welfare policies in middle childhood. This question is of interest for several reasons. First, race and ethnicity continue to be major sources of social stratification in the United States. Racial and ethnic gaps in children's school achievement and earlier school readiness are persistent, despite some declines in recent years (Lee & Burkham, 2002; Jencks & Phillips, 1998).

Type
Chapter
Information
Developmental Contexts in Middle Childhood
Bridges to Adolescence and Adulthood
, pp. 370 - 384
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2006

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