Date of Award

5-1-2011

Degree Type

Dissertation

University or Center

Clark Atlanta University(CAU)

School

School of Arts and Sciences

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Department

Political Science

First Advisor

Dr. Abi Awomolo

Second Advisor

Dr. William Boone

Third Advisor

Dr. Kristie Roberts

Abstract

This study examines the impact of welfare reform on Georgia Temporary Assistance to Needy Family (TANF) recipients’ labor force entry and self-sufficiency following passage of the Personal Responsibility Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act(PRWORA) of 1996. The study was based on the premise that the use of the cultural explanations of poverty theoretical framework was deficient in explaining the impact of welfare reform on Georgia TANF recipients’ and based on a review of the existing literature and the experiences of Georgia leaver cohorts at multiple time points. A longitudinal case study analysis approach was used to analyze data gathered from Georgia leaver studies from 1997 to 2007 to provide a secondary analysis of the impact of welfare reform on Georgia’s welfare recipients’ entry into the labor force, workforce attachment, household earnings and the ability to lift their families above the poverty level.

The researcher found that the political-economic structure of poverty theories should be the theoretical framework used to explain how welfare reform has impacted Georgia’s TANP leavers following the passage of the PRWORA. This study’s findings and the researcher’s review of the literature reveal that in order for Georgia’s TANF population to maintain an acceptable standard of living, they will need access to job opportunities, expanded safety net programs, and increased wages which are strategies that are purported by political economic structural theorist. In turn, this information should be used to inform programmatic and policy changes that will best meet the needs of those transitioning into the labor force and self-sufficiency.

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