Title:Alberta welfare reform and employment outcomes of welfare recipients
Author(s):Kwan, Rosita Yi Ki
Subject:Employment – programs, services|split|Poverty – programs, services
Publisher:The Progressive Economics Forum
Place of Publication:Toronto
Date of Publication:2011
It is well-established in the literature that financial work incentives and employability programs have positive labour supply effect. Though it is found that after a series of welfare reforms based on the work-first approach in Canada, the U.S., and the U.K., former welfare recipients and vulnerable groups, such as single mothers, tended to work in part-time or temporary jobs and witnessed limited wage growth; little is known about other job characteristics, such as union membership and pension plan coverage, of these groups. This study fills this gap by studying the 1993 welfare reform in Alberta using two years of panel data from Survey of Labour and Income Dynamics. I find that both welfare recipients and single mothers who started working after the reform were more likely to be covered by collective agreement and work full-time. However, welfare recipients tended to work regular evening schedules rather than daytime schedules; while single mothers received lower composite wage rates. Hence, there is mixed evidence as to whether the Alberta welfare reform improved employment outcomes for these two groups. More research in this area is certainly needed.