In Making Ends Meet (Russell Sage Foundation, 1997), Edin and co-author Laura Lein focus on the new welfare law, which seeks to move millions of mothers into the labor market. Their book which has received wide acclaim by academics and policy professionals, is based on extensive surveys and interviews with nearly 400 low-income mothers in four cities over a six-year period.
By carefully recording the income, expenditures and needs of low-income women, Edin and Lein provide dramatic evidence which shows that in the present labor market poor, working single mothers are often worse off than single mothers on welfare, and that neither welfare nor low-wage employment can support a family at subsistence levels.
Edin's conclusions expose the myth held by many in the government, media and public that if people on welfare would just get jobs they could pull themselves out of poverty. Her work has extremely important implications for the welfare reforms being put into place in the U.S. today.
Edin's lecture is the second in a series on Welfare and Poverty that is being sponsored by the Arthur Levitt Public Affairs Center and the Kirkland Project for the Study of Gender, Society and Culture. Peter Edelman, a former assistant secretary in the department of Health and Human Services was the first speaker in the series and Vivyan Adair, a lecturer in English and women's studies at the University of Washington, will end the series in April.