Can Work Alter Welfare Recipients' Beliefs about How They Will Fare in the Labor Market?
Some public policies aimed at integrating welfare recipients into the world of work are predicated on the premise that getting welfare recipients to work will change their beliefs about how they will be treated in the labor market. This paper explores the rationale for these policies and concludes that a plausible argument can be made on the basis of concepts developed by social psychologists and by economists. The prediction that work affects beliefs is tested using a unique data set that allows us to estimate the causal effect. We find that exogenous increases in work induced by an experimental tax credit led to the predicted changes in self-efficacy.
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