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