Employment programs meant to place welfare adults in work or training became an important part of Aid to Families with Dependent Children starting in the 1980s. These programs are effective if one means that they have positive impacts in evaluations, less so if one expects them to make a large and visible change in the welfare problem. In programs evaluated by the Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation, impacts on employment, earnings, and dependency are small in absolute terms but somewhat larger as a percentage of the control group mean. Impacts are understated in some studies because randomization occurred only after enrollment in the work program or because control group members had access to equivalent services. Results are also depressed by the failure of many experimentals to participate in the tested program. Programs raise the activity of experimentals in work-related activities much more than they raise earnings or employment. Effects on dependency are understated because evaluations do not capture deterrence effects. The sharp decline in AFDC in Wisconsin in recent years suggests the power of work requirements to drive the rolls down.
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