Event Title

Lone Mothers, Social Assistance and Health

Presenter Information

Lori J. Curtis

Start Date

15-10-2009 2:15 PM

End Date

15-10-2009 3:30 PM

Description

Many countries have instituted social assistance (SA) or welfare system reforms with goals of increasing labour force participation, particularly of lone mothers; reducing poverty, particularly of children; reducing the consequences of ‘welfare-dependency’; and at least implicitly, saving government resources. Despite limited research on the economic, social, health, and/or family outcomes of increased female labour supply and relative reductions in SA benefits, studies in many countries are pointing out the success of the reforms; implicitly there is an assumption that moving off of social assistance is itself a desirable outcome and participation in SA leads to undesirable outcomes. This study explores the health consequences of social assistance participation by examining changes in health status over time across different SA participation histories for all women and women with children in Canada using the Survey of Labour and Income Dynamics. The results indicate that any history of social assistance participation leads to some decrease in self-reported health status over time compared to those who never received SA benefits. The further removed the final report of health is from SA receipt the less negative the health changes. Moving onto or returning to SA in the final measurement period leads to the largest negative changes in health status. Longer-term participation has less negative effects than moving on to SA or transitioning between SA and no SA.

Lori J. Curtis holds a Canada Research Chair in health economics and technology at the University of Waterloo where she is an associate professor in the Department of Economics and the Director of the South Western Ontario Research Data Centre. Dr. Curtis holds a PhD in Economics from McMaster University. Her research interests revolve around examining the relationship between social policy and health and well-being of women and children, particularly those in lone-parent families. She currently holds research funding from SSHRC, CIHR, and the province of Ontario.

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Oct 15th, 2:15 PM Oct 15th, 3:30 PM

Lone Mothers, Social Assistance and Health

Many countries have instituted social assistance (SA) or welfare system reforms with goals of increasing labour force participation, particularly of lone mothers; reducing poverty, particularly of children; reducing the consequences of ‘welfare-dependency’; and at least implicitly, saving government resources. Despite limited research on the economic, social, health, and/or family outcomes of increased female labour supply and relative reductions in SA benefits, studies in many countries are pointing out the success of the reforms; implicitly there is an assumption that moving off of social assistance is itself a desirable outcome and participation in SA leads to undesirable outcomes. This study explores the health consequences of social assistance participation by examining changes in health status over time across different SA participation histories for all women and women with children in Canada using the Survey of Labour and Income Dynamics. The results indicate that any history of social assistance participation leads to some decrease in self-reported health status over time compared to those who never received SA benefits. The further removed the final report of health is from SA receipt the less negative the health changes. Moving onto or returning to SA in the final measurement period leads to the largest negative changes in health status. Longer-term participation has less negative effects than moving on to SA or transitioning between SA and no SA.

Lori J. Curtis holds a Canada Research Chair in health economics and technology at the University of Waterloo where she is an associate professor in the Department of Economics and the Director of the South Western Ontario Research Data Centre. Dr. Curtis holds a PhD in Economics from McMaster University. Her research interests revolve around examining the relationship between social policy and health and well-being of women and children, particularly those in lone-parent families. She currently holds research funding from SSHRC, CIHR, and the province of Ontario.