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Welfare Reform and the Devolution of Decision Making Authority: Changes in Administrative Infrastructure for TANF Implementation

Chang, Hyun-Joo (2005) Welfare Reform and the Devolution of Decision Making Authority: Changes in Administrative Infrastructure for TANF Implementation. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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The growing demand for welfare reform represented a devolution of authority from federal administration and enabled state governments to seek ways to improve efficiency and enhance coordination in managing Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) programs. This shift in authority from the federal government to the state and from the state to county administration empowered interagency collaboration and partnership by expanding organizational linkages between state agencies and local governments, nonprofit, and for-profit agencies for the shared goal of welfare reform.Based on a theoretical framework from New Public Management and governance theories, this research is a small-n comparative case study that explores how the shift in authority emerged at state and local administrative levels, and how states have changed TANF implementation structure in two states: New York and Pennsylvania. It also examines whether the evolution in TANF administrative infrastructure changed the decision making capacity of organizations at state and local welfare jurisdictions and contributed to economic self-sufficiency of TANF clients. The practices of Albany County, New York and Allegheny County, Pennsylvania are examined to explore how county government has implemented TANF programs in partnership with other organizations. This research conducts qualitative, quantitative, and network analysis using data from interviews, surveys, and archival records. It finds that state and county governments in New York and Pennsylvania have not substantially reinvented internal structures, but have expanded the collaboration and partnership with state or county sister agencies and nongovernmental organizations for improving efficiency. The experimentation of New York and Pennsylvania reveals that the involvement of other organizations made a substantial contribution to the decision making capacity of the organizations involved in TANF implementation. It did not yet contribute significantly to an increase in family income for TANF clients. The data also show that a larger proportion of TANF clients left welfare not for employment, but for other reasons. States sought to reduce welfare rolls without a thorough assessment of the impact of participation on the real lives of TANF clients and the reasons why clients left the program until the reauthorization in 2002. TANF clients still face difficult circumstances in becoming economically self-sufficient.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairComfort, Louise Kcomfort@pitt.eduCOMFORT
Committee MemberCoontz, Phyllis Dpcoontz@pitt.eduPCOONTZ
Committee Member Hansen, Susan Bsbhansen@pitt.eduSBHANSEN
Committee MemberDunn, William Ndunn@pitt.eduDUNN
Date: 23 August 2005
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 1 August 2005
Approval Date: 23 August 2005
Submission Date: 20 August 2005
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Graduate School of Public and International Affairs > Public and International Affairs
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Economic Self-Sufficiency of TANF Clients; Governance; Information Exchange Network; Interagency Collaboration and Partnership; New Public Management
Other ID:, etd-08202005-163249
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 20:00
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:49


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