Substance use and temporary assistance for needy families

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Joshua L. Price (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Christopher Swann

Abstract: This dissertation investigates the effect of alcohol and marijuana use on Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) eligibility and participation among young adult women. The relationship between substance use and TANF participation has gained prominence because of recent legislation requiring drug testing for TANF participants. Much of the existing literature does not consider the effect of substance use on eligibility or participation. The studies that do incorporate substance use treat it as being exogenously determined. It may be the case, however, that characteristics such as preferences for leisure or mental health status affect eligibility for TANF, participation in TANF if eligible, and substance use. If this is the case then the assumption of exogeneity is violated. I use data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1997 to estimate a joint model of TANF eligibility, TANF participation, alcohol use, and marijuana use which allows the substance use variables to be endogenous. The outcomes are jointly determined due to the inclusion of a shared error term which is allowed to have a different effect on each outcome. This term is intended to capture woman-specific characteristics that may affect eligibility, participation, and substance use. The estimation results suggest that alcohol use is not a significant predictor of TANF eligibility or participation. Infrequent marijuana use, on the other hand, is positively related to both eligibility and participation while frequent marijuana use is positively related to eligibility. These results contribute to the understanding of TANF eligibility and participation and substance use.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2016
Substance use, TANF, Unobserved heterogeneity, Welfare
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (Program)
Public welfare $x Research $x Methodology
Public welfare $x Statistical methods
Welfare recipients $x Alcohol use
Welfare recipients $x Drug use
Young women $x Alcohol use
Young women $x Drug use

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