An Analysis of Welfare Participation: Rational-Choice Perspective and Group-Threat Hypothesis

Tyrone Cheng, Celia C. Lo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


This secondary data analysis examined the impacts of human capital, child care, fringe benefits, child support, ethnicity, county economy, and county minority-population size on participation in Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) by parents living at or below the federal poverty threshold. Longitudinal records of 1,789 such parents were extracted from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (1996-2008). Multilevel mixed-effects linear regression showed that having personal/family problems, being African American, and residing in a county with widespread unemployment were associated positively with TANF receipt. TANF receipt was associated negatively with employment offering a retirement plan, full-time employment, part-time employment, and residence in a county with a large Hispanic population. Future research might explore the relationship between subpopulations' sizes and states' TANF policies. © 2014

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)189-200
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Social Service Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2014


  • TANF
  • group-threat hypothesis
  • minority population
  • rational choice
  • unemployment rate


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