Sample Business Studies Essay Paper on Propagating Welfare Exit by Enhancing the Individual and Contextual Factors

Propagating Welfare Exit by Enhancing the Individual and Contextual Factors

1.0 Introduction

1.1 Background

            Dependency on welfare programs in the United States is an issue that attracts a lot of concern from different groups of people. Policies come up from time to time to regulate the number of people depending on such programs with the notion of alleviating poverty. However, the number of depended people continues to rise, especially single mothers regardless of the efforts by the government and agencies to cut the expenses. Drug use and alcoholism are some of the risk factors that lead to an increase in demand for welfare assistance. Compulsory drug tests for welfare recipients is one of the policies that have been formed to ensure that the money disbursed in the welfare programs does not end up facilitating illicit behaviors. A more applicable solution to the problem was the formation of the temporary assistance to the needy families (TANF) program with the aim of reducing dependency on public help (Lane, 2006). The program hopes to create an exit program for poor single mothers to enter the job market and reduce their dependency on the welfare assistance.

1.2 Problem statement

            Many scholars have researched the topic of welfare for quite a while in the light of poverty alleviation and public assistance. One of the most recent papers published on this topic ‘welfare to work transition in the TANF era’ provides an ideal understanding of the situation at hand by analyzing the factors influencing the transition process. The United States battles with the process through which the people depended on welfare programs can create a life of their own and reduce the budgetary issues of funding the welfare programs by the government. Although most of the researches conducted on this topic focus on the evaluation of the welfare policies, this study took a different approach by analyzing the dynamics of welfare-to-work transition. Understanding such dynamics goes a long way in helping the government and the welfare facilitators to understand the issues that need attention in the implementation of the projects (Caputo, 2011). Most of the studies on this topic evaluate the welfare policies by focusing on the times after the 2001 economic shutdown. However, in this study, the author goes back to the 1996 welfare reforms to understand clearly the real issues that influence the transition process from welfare to work.

            The author used administrative data from the Mississippi state to provide more literature on the topic of study. Further, the author used various theories in the fields of human capital, labor markets, controls, race, and neighborhood to establish the factors that affect the transition process for people in welfare programs. The impact of time on the transition process was also analyzed to determine the period that people should be allowed to depend entirely on the welfare programs without risking dependency. The author used both independent and depended variables to conduct the research. The dependent variable of the study included binary variables that focused on exists and no exists and nominal variables that focused on the estimation of the competing risks among worker exits, non-worker exits, and no exits (Xuhul, 2011). The independent variables were based on the five key factors that are speculated to have great influence on the transition process from welfare to work. The factors include controls, human capital, labor markets, race, and neighborhood. Each of these factors has a certain impact on the exit process of poor single mothers.

            The theoretical framework of this article is based on two theories, including the human capital theory and the neighborhood effect theory. The theories represent the assumptions presented by both neoclassical economic theories and sociologists theories. While the neoclassical economic theories blame individuals for the dependence on the welfare programs, the sociological theories argue that the society is to blame for causing people to depend on the public assistance. The use of both theories in the conceptual framework enables he researcher to focus on both sides of the argument and produce superior results. The findings of the study prove that individual and contextual issues have a substantial effect on the level of transition from welfare to work (Xuhul, 2011). Additionally, the findings of the study did not confirm the hypothesis that time spend in the welfare increases the dependency level.

1.3 Personal Approach about the Topic

            The research presented in the above-discussed article presents the possible risk factors to welfare to work transition. However, the research does not present the ways through which TANF can enhance these factors to ensure promote the exit program. The purpose of the TANF program is to facilitate the exit process, especially for poor single mothers. Extensive research has been done on the implementation of the programs as well as the causal effects, but little, if any is done to determine how TANF and other welfare programs can use these factors to foster the exit programs for welfare depended people. The research conducted about the welfare-to-work transition proves that both individual and contextual issues play a big role in the transition process of welfare depended persons. Therefore, a different approach of the study could analyze how TANF and any other welfare program can improve the individual and contextual issues for the welfare recipients to promote their chances of exiting the program to the job market (Telleen & Sayad, 2012).

1.4 Research Questions

  • How can the TANF program shape the society to prevent further welfare dependencies among single mothers?
  • How can TANF enhance the human capital, labor market, racial discrimination, and neighborhood factors to promote an exit plan for poor single mothers?

1.5 Study Hypothesis

1: Improving Individual and Contextual Factors Enhances a Successful Transition from Welfare Dependency to Personal Independence

            Previous researches indicate that contextual and individual factors promote the high levels of dependency on welfare aid among single mothers. Therefore, a reverse program can reduce the dependency habits and promote self-development among these people. Individual issues such as lack of quality education and poor skills can be improved by training people and offering short education programs for people dependent on welfares to foster their exit plan. The success of the dependent persons after the exit program depends on their ability to compete in the job market (Telleen & Sayad, 2012). Further, with the availability of ideal jobs and support programs in the community, single mothers can raise independent children thus reducing the burden of welfare dependency in the future.

H2: Social Cohesion in the Neighborhood Leads to Low Welfare Dependency and Low Levels of Poverty

            Social cohesion in the society can prevent excessive dependency on welfare programs by equipping people to self-manage their economic situations in a better way. Additionally, social cohesion reduces the stigma and the discrimination against the poor, which often enlarges the gap between the rich and the poor. People dependent on welfare programs lack quality education and the right skills because life in towns and cities is fragmented into social classes. Only the wealthy have access to quality education and ideal training programs. Therefore, the poor end up in a vicious cycle of poverty and continuous dependency on government help. Enhancing social cohesion can eliminate these challenges and create an avenue for the financially challenged person to acquire similar education and training programs (Telleen & Sayad, 2012). Further, social cohesion helps in reducing the number of children born out of wedlock hence reduced number of single mothers and welfare dependency.

1.6 Justification and motivation

Most poor single mothers fail to exit the program because they lack the necessary skills to depend on the job market. Therefore, a research on this topic would seek to answer the ‘how’ question in the process of alleviating poverty through the creation of independence plans for people depended on welfare support.

            A research on how the TANF program can enhance transition plan will go a long way in solving many economic issues arising from welfare dependency. Poverty alleviation and public assistance are some of the issues that hinder the development of any nation. Therefore, it is vital for welfare programs such as TANF to focus on measures that can solve the issue of public dependence permanently and promote independent societies. Further, a research in this area will provide guidelines on how the welfare programs can prepare the societies to foster growth among individuals. Sociologist theories argue that societies are responsible for the dependency on welfare programs (Pickering, 2006). Therefore, finding possible solutions to societal development values will enhance the goals of TANF and other welfare programs of propagating an exit plan. In general, the TANF goal is aligned with the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which makes it central point of concern for the American government. A research on how to foster the exit program by enhancing the individual and contextual issues will add to the literature on the poverty and public assistance topic greatly.

2.0 Literature review

2.1 Background

Welfare dependency is a major problem in the United States of America attracting the attention of all government agencies. Welfare programs were coined to act as a safety net for people living under the poverty line but have since become a lifestyle for the poor. The desire to shift the focus from welfare dependency to personal responsibility and independence is an issue that has faced many challenges over the years. The demarcation between the deserving and the undeserving welfare recipients is not clear. In fact, the issue has raised many concerns among different people with the opponents of the movement arguing that people should receive drug tests to determine their eligibility. Other people argue that only people who are led to poverty via uncontrollable factors should be eligible for the welfare donations (Telleen & Sayad, 2012). For instance, widows are considered eligible for the program because their source of inability to support the family is not self-inflicted. Single mothers, who have never married, on the other hand, are considered undeserving of the welfare help because their situation is as a result of their choices in life.

            The debate on the eligibility of the welfare program support has attracted a lot of attention from scholars and theorists. The classical economic theorists argue that people depend on welfare programs because they do not want to work. Classical economic theorists attribute poverty to personal incapability and the choices that one makes in life. In other words, the theories blame the victims for allowing themselves to depend on the welfare programs while there are other options in life. Most of the welfare depend persons are considered morally deficient in classical economic theories.

            On the other hand, the sociologist theories criticize the neoclassical economist theories for ignoring the structural factors that cause people to live in poverty. The desire to determine the causal effects of the increased dependence on welfare programs has led to increased research on the area of risk factors that lead to dependency. Temporary assistance for the needy families (TANF) is one of the organizations that try to propagate the exit plans for welfare dependent people to reduce the cost of the welfare programs and in turn alleviate poverty in the community (Telleen & Sayad, 2012). To achieve success in alleviating poverty and reducing dependency on the programs, one must understand the risk factors and the ways to mitigate these problems.

            Long-term dependency is highly associated with unwillingness to work but research indicates otherwise. Most single mothers dependent on these programs still have some form of paying jobs. However, their low skill and lack of quality education limits their access to well paying jobs thus making it hard to leave the welfare programs. The single mothers depend on both the welfare aid and the small income from their low paying jobs because none of their income sources can sustain families efficiently (Telleen & Sayad, 2012). Additionally, research indicates that the level of dependency among the black people is higher than that of the whites. The level of unemployment in America makes most black men unmarriageable thus leading to higher numbers of single mothers among the blacks. Lack of quality education and the support of the male partners in families have led the single mothers to view the welfare aid as a lifestyle rather than a safety net.

            Unskilled labor does not help to exit the welfare programs because the work associated costs do not match the income earned from the jobs. Additionally, the increasing number of teenage mothers poses a challenge to the exit plans. Teenage mothers tend to make the welfare programs a lifestyle because the disruption between their education and motherhood leaves them no chance to pursue higher education. The cycle then follows with low skills and unskilled employments that cannot fully support a family. Lack of affordable childcare, limited access t suitable jobs in affluent suburbs as well as high housing and transportation costs limits the success of the welfare exit programs (Telleen & Sayad, 2012).

            The rational choice theory argues that people often take the most appropriate choice to their problems. In this case, people dependent on welfare programs prefer to stay in the programs than to engage in unskilled labor that can barely sustain a family. Additionally, getting people out of the welfare program without an ideal source of income do not tackle the issue of poverty because such parents are bound to have welfare dependent children hence the continuation of the cycle. Welfare programs that focus on work programs should focus not only on the reduction of dependency people but also on the stabilization of those who exit the programs to prevent further dependencies (Telleen & Sayad, 2012). Access to suitable jobs, improved education levels through training, and reduced number of teenage mothers can go along way in propagating the welfare exit programs for welfare dependent people. Further, welfare programs can promote the formation and maintenance of two parent families especially among the blacks and the prevention out of wedlock children to enhance the exit programs. A focus towards cutting poverty rather than reducing dependency can propagate the exit programs and provide a success independent life for the welfare dependent persons.

2.2 Theoretical model

The study on transition mechanisms from welfare dependencies to the job market is based on two theories emanating from sociologist theories and neoclassical economic theories. The human capital theory emphasizes on the responsibility of an individual in choosing whether to depend on welfare programs or choose alternative options. In other words, the human capital model places the dependency blame on the victim. On the other hand, the neighborhood theory from the sociologist group of theories argues that the environment in which people live determine their socio-economic status (Telleen & Sayad, 2012). In this case, single mothers who dependent on the welfare programs are a product of the societies in which they live. Therefore, for TANF to facilitate effective exit program, it should focus on strengthening societies to produce better citizens while advancing the individual factors pointed out in the human capita theory.

Teenage parenthood Lack of skills Lack of quality education  
High cost of living Lack of quality jobs Discrimination Unemployment  

Individual FactorsContextual Factors

                                                                         Welfare Dependency

Successful Exit Plan  

                                                                                    Poverty alleviation

                                                                      Reduced dependency                          

3.0 Methodology

3.1 Research Design

            Welfare dependency affects the sustainability of states and the economic development of the entire United States nation. Welfare dependencies reduce the number of people in stable employment thus interfering with the productivity of the states in varied scales. Additionally, the existence of welfare dependent people is an indication of a failing society because every community must have the capacity of support its people without external help. Therefore, solving the issues of welfare dependency in the United States requires one to understand fully the causal effects of such attachments.

Many researches have been conducted in the topic of the causal effects of welfare dependency. The possible causes of welfare dependency are known to most government agencies but less has been done to convert these causal effects to solutions. The government is more focused on creating welfare exit programs but most of the strategies used to this course do not guarantee successful lives for those who exit the programs. As such, most exit programs only enhance the vicious cycle of dependency. The children of the people who leave the welfare program without stable solutions to their financial situations end up in the welfare programs in the future. The cist of living, the cost of education, and the stigma associated with poverty hinders such children from progressing in life. A permanent solution is therefore necessary to determine how the established welfare dependence causal effects can propagate successful exit programs for people dependent on welfare programs. 

Welfare dependent people by definition are the individuals whose life choices as indicated by the economic theorists have led them to depend on government support. On the other hand, the sociologist theories define welfare dependent people as those who have been led to depend on the government by the society. The current paper, therefore, combines the two definitions of welfare dependent persons to include both the societal effects and the individual and contextual factors that influence welfare dependency in the United States. TANF is a welfare program coined to temporary assist the needy families in varied states. TANF has roved quite successful in comparison with other welfare exit programs hence the focus of this paper. An ideal and successful welfare exit program must include an after exit plan that assist people to live successfully and avid further dependencies.

Welfare exit or more specifically TANF welfare exit is the dependent variable in the current study. Exiting welfare programs is not easy especially for single mothers who lack the necessary skills to survive in the normal world. The reasons as to why people join the welfare programs affect their ability to leave the welfare assistance and become self-independent in the future. For instance, single mothers who join the welfare program after loosing their jobs or a divorce are likely to exit the program in less that twelve months and achieve a successful life independently. On the other hand, those who join the program because of early pregnancies and lack of employment are likely to make the welfare programs a lifestyle rather than a safety net.

The current research will use both primary and secondary data to measure the dependent variable. The administrative data from state agencies, which is available in public documents, will be used to analyze the success of welfare exit programs. The administrative data is more specific and easy to assign to various localities to determine the possible effects of the society on the exit programs. Most people go back to welfare dependencies because of societal discrimination. Therefore, analyzing the administrative data from different state agencies will help to determine the number of people living successful lives after the exit programs and the factors that led to the same. The current research hypothesizes that society cohesion has a considerable impact on the success of the exit programs. The administrative data will provide the necessary information on how the TANF program has contributed towards society cohesion for successful exit programs. Further, the employment act and the amount of help received by each family will determine the success or failure of TANF in propagating the welfare exit plans.

The independent variables in the study are grouped into four main categories including human capital, labor markets, neighborhood, and race. All these issues affect the welfare exit programs greatly and therefore can be used to transform the lives of the people who leave the welfare assistance. The administrative data will be useful to measure each of the variables but the researcher will also conduct online interviews with people who have been affected by welfare programs in one way or another. The interviews and the administrative data are meant to establish the issues that most welfare dependent people consider valuable in achieving a successful exit plan from welfare dependencies. Most welfare programs assume that unskilled labor or any form of employment is enough to warrant independence for the people depending on the welfare programs. However, most of the people still dependent on welfare programs are engaged in some form of jobs but the income cannot support their families. The research will help the TANF and any other welfare program interested in creating successful welfare exist to understand the needs of these people better and come up with better solutions.

The research will test the short-term effects of job training on employment opportunities for people who exit the welfare programs. The purpose of the test will be to determine if such trainings can be enhanced to promote better employment opportunities for the welfare dependent people. Successful exit plans depends on the employability of the persons. Therefore, TANF must come up with ideal training mechanisms and trainings that last long enough to ensure successful transition from welfare to the outer word for its beneficiaries. On the other hand, the research will focus on the causes of school drops outs to determine the possible solution to educational factors that affect the exit programs. The research will compare data from different states with different education programs and accessibility to determine which mechanisms can be used to promote ideal education qualifications and prevent welfare dependencies. Although most of the people in welfare dependencies are adults with less needs of primary educations, their children can benefit from accessible and affordable education programs. Affordable education reduces the burden of family care for single mothers, which can enhance their exit from the program.

To test the neighborhood and race hypothesis, the research will analyze the administrative data and online surveys to determine the best neighborhood programs that can help people who exit the welfare programs to succeed in life. The research will focus on the contribution of two parent families towards successful exit programs as well as the employment opportunities for the black males. Promoting employment opportunities for black men leads to successful two parent families, which reduce the need for welfare dependencies. The contribution of societal cohesion will be measured by analyzing two different exit plans into different communities.

3.2 Sampling technique and sample size 

The use of the administrative data will ensure that the research focuses on many respondents as possible. However, only the administrative data with details on the exit programs will be analyzed to narrow down the study to a sizeable sample. The research intends to analyze the results of about 500 welfare dependent cases with both successful land unsuccessful exit plans. The validity problems associated with the use of administrative data include the recording errors that exist in such data because it is not meant for research but administrative work. Analyzing the administrative data for research purposes is, therefore, time consuming. Additionally, the use of administrative data makes it difficult for the research to control the variables of the study. The data is, however, quite specific thus enabling the researcher to focus on specific individuals hence its choice.

The use of the large sample size is necessary for this study to enable the generalization of the results. Welfare dependency and exit plans are central economic concerns for the entire American community. Therefore, the use of the large sample size will ensure that the results of the study are applicable to varied states with different labor markets, human capital, neighborhood, and races. The use of online surveys will substitute the errors that may occur in the use of the administrative data from different states. Each variable will be measured independently to determine the best actions for each variable.

3.3 Statistical measures for validity and reliability of survey instruments

For our research, both data for the dependent variable (welfare exit programs) and independent variables (including human capital, labor markets, neighborhood, and race) can be obtained from the respondents through properly designed survey questions, and this means that well-structured pilot study procedures will be used to show validity and reliability of the survey instruments. While reliability examines the consistency of information obtained from different sources or respondents, validity examines coherency or accuracy of the study instruments. Under the test for reliability, we will determine whether the chosen survey instrument gives the same results when used with the same group of respondents. Otherwise stated, the core aim of the pilot study is to refine the steps followed during data collection by making sure that the researcher develops and is able to test for the adequacy of the survey instruments. Testing the survey instruments for validity and reliability would require the following pilot study procedures:

Testing for validity – validity of the study survey questions will be tested through a panel of experts and field tests. The procedure would include determine whether the questions are valid and also if the wordings measure the intended variable; determining whether the questionnaire represent the content of the study, and identifying whether the questions are appropriate for the sample group or study population. Others are making sure that the questions are comprehensive enough obtain all the information required for analysis; and determining whether the instrument is structured in a format that resembles a questionnaire.

Testing for reliability – the reliability test is the final step under the pilot study procedures and may include the use of test-retest, split half, and internal consistency depending on the type of data to be collected (nominal, ordinal, or ration). Our research aims at measuring the cause-and-effect relationships between welfare exit programs (dependent variable) and human capital, labor markets, neighborhood, and race (dependent variable). Such relationships can only be defined through regression models, hence the use of ordinal data. The researcher will establish reliability using a pilot study of between 20 to 30 objects outside the targeted samples. The data collected from these subjects will be analyzed using SPSS for “correlation matrix” and “view alpha for the deleted items”. The researcher will proceed by eliminating all the items that have negatives, 0s, and 1s since there are insignificant for the study. After eliminating the insignificant statements, the researcher will view “alpha” column to determine whether the alpha is raised by the deletion. The deletion will continue, but not more than 20 percent of the item until the alpha range from zero to one. While a value of zero represent an instrument full of error, a value of 1 will represent an instrument with total absence of error; an alpha value of 0.70 or higher is desirable.

3.4 Power analysis to define the sample size

Power analysis is an important step in the design stage of a planned research project because it allows the researcher to determine the optimal sample size alongside detecting statistical significance. Since the study is descriptive in nature, the researcher will be required to use a large sample size to enable the generalization of the results. A large sample size for a descriptive study can be analysed using an ideal p-Value ranging from 0.80 to 0.99 with respective Z-scores as shown in the table below.

0.800.84 *

Source: deviates for statistical power,

3.5 The Inferential statistics to be calculated

The analysis of two or more variables like in our case requires the use of inferential statistics. Even though there are different inferential statistics that can be calculated from this study, the only way to determine the cause-and-effect relationships between the dependent and independent variables would be through the use of ordinal inferential statistics and ration inferential statistics for the regression analysis. The main idea here is to be able to measure the degree of relationship between the identified variables alongside predicting the extent to which a change in one variable would affect the entire regression model.

3.6 The statistical techniques to be used to test each hypotheses

HypothesisVariables InvolvedStatistical Test
Improving Individual and Contextual Factors Enhances a Successful Transition from Welfare Dependency to Personal Independence  Dependent: Welfare Dependence and Personal Independence (Warfare dependency) Independent: Individual and Contextual Factors (human capital, labor markets, neighborhood, and race)Pearson Correlation: This test will allow the researcher to determine the extent to which contextual factors affect warfare dependency or independency. The researcher may decide to generalize all the independent variables as contextual factors, study each factor at a time or develop a model that includes all the four contextual factors. Multiple regression: Through this test, the researcher will be able to determine how the four contextual factors will predict change/changes in warfare dependency.  
Social Cohesion in the Neighborhood leads to: Low Welfare Dependency and Low Levels of Poverty  Dependent: Warfare Dependency and Poverty Independent: Social Cohesion in the neighborhoodChi-square: This test will allow the researcher to determine the strengths of association between the two different variables (warfare dependency and social cohesion) Simple Regression: Through this test, the researcher will be able to determine the how changes in social cohesion predict the level of war dependency.  


Xuhul, Z. (2011). Welfare-to-work transition in the TANF era: evidence from Mississippi. Oktibbeha: Mississippi state university.

Caputo, R. (2011). U.S. social welfare reform policy transitions from 1981 to the present. New York, NY: Springer Science Business Media, LLC.

Lane, M. (2006). Trends in poverty and welfare alleviation issues. New York: Nova Science Publishers.

Pickering, K. (2006). Welfare reform in persistent rural poverty: dreams, disenchantments, and diversity. University Park, Pa: Pennsylvania State University Press.

Telleen, S. & Sayad, J. (2012). The transition from welfare to work: processes, challenges, and outcomes. New York: Haworth Press.