How do welfare sanctions work?

Chi Fang Wu, Maria Cancian, Daniel R. Meyer, Geoffrey L. Wallace

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Under Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, families are subject to greater work requirements, and the severity of sanction for noncompliance has increased. Using Wisconsin longitudinal administrative data, the authors performed event history analysis to examine the dynamic patterns of sanctioning and the patterns of benefits following a sanction. They found that very high rates of sanctioning (especially partial sanctions) and multiple sanctions were fairly common but sanction spells were quite short. The most common transition from a sanction was back to full benefit receipt. The authors also examined the factors associated with being sanctioned and the severity of sanctions by comparing a traditional model with an event history model. They found that it is important to estimate a model that takes into account the period of risk. Results confirm that those who may be least able to succeed in the labor market are most likely to be sanctioned.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)33-50
Number of pages18
JournalSocial Work Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2006


  • Event history analysis
  • Poverty
  • TANF
  • Welfare programs
  • Welfare sanctions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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