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Does Public Assistance Reduce Recidivism?

Crystal S. Yang

American Economic Review, 2017, vol. 107, issue 5, 551-55

Abstract: Under the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) of 1996, individuals convicted of drug-related felonies were permanently banned from receiving welfare and food stamps. Since then, over 30 states have opted out of the federal ban. In this paper, I estimate the impact of public assistance eligibility on recidivism by exploiting both the adoption of the federal ban and subsequent passage of state laws that lifted the ban. Using administrative prison records on five million offenders and a triple-differences research design, I find that public assistance eligibility for drug offenders reduces one-year recidivism rates by 10 percent.

JEL-codes: H53 H75 I32 I38 K42 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.p20171001
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