Social assistance: Do higher benefit levels lead to higher caseloads?

As part of my PhD thesis, I did some statistical analysis in which I asked the question: “Do higher social assistance benefit levels lead to higher caseloads?”

I have recently updated the data and had it published in a journal.

Here’s a short summary of the journal article’s main findings.

One comment

  • Thank you as always for your excellent and concise overviews which are much appreciated!

    Re: “One implication from this is that provincial and territorial officials should not expect job creation alone to wipe out social assistance caseloads for employable singles.”

    A roughly 6% drop in cases for every 1% drop in unemployment seems significant to me. There are many factors that prevent those who want jobs from getting them. Is there a suggestion here that able-bodied people on welfare would not accept good, decent jobs? What would happen if good jobs were created and available to anyone who applied via a Job Guarantee program? Here is economist Wray’s (American) perspective:

    L. Randall Wray, Professor of Economics at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, Research Director with the Center for Full Employment and Price Stability and Senior Research Scholar at The Levy Economics Institute.
    http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2014/04/mmt-policy.html

    Well it’s very easy to reduce the inequality that results from low income, from poverty, from low wages; all you have to do is offer jobs. Minsky did a calculation [in] 1974 and Professor Kelton and I did one around 2000. We showed that if you just give a job to anyone who wants to work you will eliminate two thirds of all poverty, even if you pay only the minimum wage. We would like to see the job pay more than that, but even at a minimum wage you eliminate two-thirds of all poverty. So most poverty is due to joblessness. People who cannot get jobs or maybe they get jobs that last a few months and then they are unemployed again. We need permanent jobs that pay a decent wage and you’ll eliminate most poverty. You’ll still need some kinds of anti-poverty programs but the jobs are the best anti-poverty programs there are, then you need something else to fill the gaps.

    more on Job Guarantee: http://mmtincanada.jimdo.com/policy-issues/job-guarantee/

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