ETI Publications

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Technical Paper

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The target population for this study is 5,800 young African American males living in households where one or more members applied for public assistance. Their employment records are tracked for 39 months. The critical question was to examine what happened to these youths upon reaching maturity. Dr. Ronald Edari, UWM Professor of Sociology and Urban Studies, observes that while modest in scope, this paper is intended to counter-balance in some measure the recent voluminous literature on work and welfare, whose conservative thrust has tended to focus on the debilitating characteristics of individuals rather than industries. The paper examines employment, earnings and returns to schooling, in order to ascertain the degree to which the low wage industries have become a major problem in resolving the issue of welfare dependency. Edari observed that at the subjective level, such industries also create a number of disincentives to work that cannot simply be inferred from the alleged values of the youth living in AFDC families.