WELFARE PROGRAMS AND REFORMS IN CANADA: REDUCING OR REPRODUCING HEALTH INEQUALITIES?
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The effect of welfare policies is evident in the behaviours of welfare recipients and in their patterns of health. Yet there are very few studies with up to date analyses on the health consequences of the mid-1990s welfare reform in Canada. This study examines the effects of welfare income and welfare reforms on health outcomes of welfare recipients. I use National Population Health Survey (NPHS) in 1996 to present a baseline health differences by welfare status. I later utilize the mid-1900s welfare reform in a natural experiment setting to examine the health outcomes of welfare poor and working poor respondents. By using provincial welfare reform intensities, I detect exogenous variation that can indicate the effect of a greater reduction in welfare funding on health outcomes. Overall, my results show a strong correlation between welfare income and health outcomes, but policy makers must be cautious when interpreting causality.