How Welfare Policies Affect Adolescents' School Outcomes: A Synthesis of Evidence From Experimental Studies


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Using data from 8 random assignment studies and employing meta-analytic techniques, this article provides systematic evidence that welfare and work policies targeted at low-income parents have small adverse effects on some school outcomes among adolescents ages 12 to 18 years at follow-up. These adverse effects were observed mostly for school performance outcomes and occurred in programs that required mothers to work or participate in employment-related activities and those that encouraged mothers to work voluntarily. The most pronounced negative effects on school outcomes occurred for the group of adolescents who had a younger sibling, possibly because of the increased home and sibling care responsibilities they assumed as their mothers increased their employment.