Revisiting the Relationship Between Welfare Expenditures and Serious Crime

John L. Worrall, California State University

ABSTRACT
Researchers have found that welfare expenditures are inversely related to serious crime. Most of these findings are based on 1990 Census data. This is a critical limitation in light of the 1996 Welfare Reform Act. Using official data from all 58 counties in California for the years 1989-2000, this study explores the relationship between welfare expenditures and serious crime, while controlling for the effect of the 1996 Welfare Reform Act. The results show that in the years since 1996, the relationship between welfare spending and crime has almost completely disappeared.

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Updated 05/20/2006