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Am J Public Health. 2014 Mar;104(3):534-8. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2012.301072. Epub 2013 May 16.

Impact of welfare reform on mortality: an evaluation of the Connecticut jobs first program, a randomized controlled trial.

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  • 1Elizabeth T. Wilde, Zohn Rosen, and Peter A. Muennig, are with the Department of Health Policy and Management, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, New York, NY. Kenneth Couch is with the Department of Economics, University of Connecticut, Storrs.



We examined whether Jobs First, a multicenter randomized trial of a welfare reform program conducted in Connecticut, demonstrated increases in employment, income, and health insurance relative to traditional welfare (Aid to Families with Dependent Children). We also investigated if higher earnings and employment improved mortality of the participants.


We revisited the Jobs First randomized trial, successfully linking 4612 participant identifiers to 15 years of prospective mortality follow-up data through 2010, producing 240 deaths. The analysis was powered to detect a 20% change in mortality hazards.


Significant employment and income benefits were realized among Jobs First recipients relative to traditional welfare recipients, particularly for the most disadvantaged groups. However, although none of these reached statistical significance, all participants in Jobs First (overall, across centers, and all subgroups) experienced higher mortality hazards than traditional welfare recipients.


Increases in income and employment produced by Jobs First relative to traditional welfare improved socioeconomic status but did not improve survival.

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