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Washington State Institute for Public Policy
June 1995
Employment has been the major pathway off welfare (Aid to Families With Dependent Children - AFDC) in Washington State. Employment has also been emphasized in recent welfare reform proposals at the national level. Because most women on welfare earn low hourly wages when they work, it is difficult for them to leave and stay off welfare.

This paper examines the reasons why women on welfare increased their hourly wages, above their starting wage, while they were employed during the Family Income Study period. Starting wages depended upon womenÂ’s educational level, previous work experience, age, and local labor markets.
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