Washington Post, May 28, 2016
HILLARY CLINTON’S presidential campaign is premised, at least implicitly, on the idea that if you liked her husband Bill Clinton’s presidency, you’ll love hers. That’s understandable, given that the period between 1993 and 2001 saw economic growth, balanced budgets and declining crime. At the same time, it was inevitable, and also fair, that her opponents in 2016 would challenge this upbeat narrative.
As it happens, welfare reform is one of the most intensively studied policy changes of recent history. The findings support neither unbridled enthusiasm nor the dire hindsight Mr. Sanders voices today. “A broad summary of that voluminous literature,” write economists Marianne Bitler and Hilary Hoynes,“is that welfare reform contributed to a significant reduction in welfare participation and an increase in female employment, with little consistent evidence that reform led to an increase (or decrease) in poverty or a worsening of (or improvement in) child well-being.”
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