The Relationship Between Childhood TANF Cash Assistance Receipt and Young Adult Expectations
Bryan, Brielle E.
Thomas, Adam T.
This paper explores the relationship between childhood TANF cash assistance receipt and young adult expectations about success and future labor market outcomes. Two self-reported expectations measures are used to examine this relationship: chance of having one's most desired job at age 30 and chance of having enough money to support oneself comfortably by age 30. Data for this analysis are taken from the Panel Survey of Income Dynamics' 2007 Transition into Adulthood study, which collected information on time use, responsibilities, relationships, employment, income, education and career goals, expectations, health, outlook on life and psychosocial measures from 18 to 24 year olds who were no longer attending high school and were living with parents or other caretakers at the time of the survey. Ordered probit models controlling for sex, age, race/ethnicity, education, average family income during youth, householder education (and, if appropriate, spouse's education), mother's marital status at birth, number of children in the household, respondent's caretakers in 1997, region, and urbanicity are used to investigate the relationship between childhood TANF receipt and young adult expectations. Propensity score analysis is also used to control for bias in the estimates caused by unequal probabilities of selection into the treatment group (TANF cash assistance receipt). While the analysis shows a negative correlation between TANF cash assistance receipt and young adult expectations, the relationship is not statistically significant, which may be relevant and reassuring to policymakers to the extent that there is concern over a culture of despair surrounding welfare receipt. Additionally, significant findings in the control variables - in particular the finding that young women have higher expectations for obtaining the jobs they most want but lower expectations for having enough money to support themselves comfortably by age 30 than young men - suggest potentially interesting topics for future research.
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