Date of Award




Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Department of Sociology

Content Description

1 online resource (iii, 49 pages) : illustrations.

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Steven F Messner

Committee Members

Ryan D King, Glenn Deane


Crime, TANF, Welfare, Public welfare

Subject Categories



A sizeable body of literature has found that welfare reduces crime, but the majority of these studies have used data from before 1996. In 1996 the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) radically changed the welfare system of the United States. Control of welfare programs shifted from the federal government to the states and PRWORA increased the emphasis on getting people off welfare via the introduction of lifetime limits on the receipt of aid and mandatory participation in work programs for able-bodied recipients. Consistent with this emphasis, researchers have documented a precipitous drop in caseload sizes across the U.S. since the implementation of PRWORA. Studies of welfare and crime using post-PRWORA data have not replicated the negative relationship of prior studies, indicating that the welfare-crime dynamic has changed. This study contributes to the literature by using county welfare data from New York State to assess the effects of two means of caseload reduction which have taken on an increased role in the new welfare state: expulsions and application denials.

Included in

Criminology Commons