An evaluation of the Minnesota Family Investment Program, which employed a randomized control trial that showed sizable increases in employment and earnings, and reduction in poverty, for single-parent, long-term welfare recipients

"The Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP) represents a new vision of welfare as a system that can simultaneously encourage work, reduce dependence on public assistance, and reduce poverty. It attempts to break loose from the historical tradeoffs among these goals by implementing two complementary policies: financial incentives to reward work and reduce poverty and, for long-term welfare recipients, mandatory participation in employment-focused services to encourage and require work and reduce dependence. This document summarizes the results presented in the evaluation’s final report. Volume 1 of that report examines MFIP’s effects on employment, earnings, welfare receipt, income, marriage, and other outcomes for adults in single- and two-parent families for up to three years after they entered the study. Volume 2 presents the results of a special study of MFIP’s effects on children and other aspects of family well-being for single mothers who had at least one child aged 2 to 9 when they entered the study." (p. 1). (Abstractor: Author and Website Staff)

Full Publication Title: Reforming Welfare and Rewarding Work: A Summary of the Final Report on the Minnesota Family Investment Program

Major Findings & Recommendations

• “MFIP produced substantial increases in employment and earnings. • Because of MFIP’s financial incentives some families who in the past would have become ineligible for welfare because of their higher earnings instead continued to receive welfare. At the same time, more parents in the MFIP group than in the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) group entered employment, leading fewer families to rely on welfare without working, an important step toward self-sufficiency. • The combination of higher earnings and welfare payments for working families led to increased income and reduced poverty, relative to the levels for the AFDC group…MFIP’s effects on families’ economic circumstances led to a series of important changes in family life and improvements in child well-being, a dramatic decline in domestic abuse, a modest increase in marriage rates, and, for children, better performance in school and fewer behavioral problems" (p. 2). (Abstractor: Author)