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Abstract

It is argued here that Work Incentive Policies treat the symptoms rather than the basic causes of poverty with high costs to society. The writer's own experience with WIN participants as well as attitudinal surveys has suggested that there is a very high motivation to work among welfare mothers, however, the low-wage jobs available to them are not very competitive with benefits available through AFDC with its various in-kind programs such as Medicaid and day care. As Sawhill (1976) notes, the combined benefit-loss rates associated with work incentive programs remain high, as budgetary constraints associated with raising net welfare- wage incentives and services remain high along with administrative costs of a work incentive program. However acceptable the concept of work incentives and however great the effort, the shift from dependency to self-support for these three-and-a-half-million women and their children is extremely difficult to bring about.

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