Welfare-to-Work Study in Los Angeles

CPL is partnering with Los Angeles’ Department of Public and Social Services to assess the effectiveness of workforce services provided to low-income individuals and families receiving cash assistance.


Los Angeles’ Department of Public Social Services (DPSS) provides cash assistance and other support services to over 200,000 families and individuals through the CalWORKs (California’s version of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) and General Relief (GR) programs each month. Greater Avenues for Independence (GAIN) within CalWORKs offers employment services to help families obtain living-wage employment and increase economic mobility, while General Relief Opportunities for Work (GROW) within GR helps individuals with similar goals. DPSS is seeking to better understand the effectiveness of these programs and whether they are achieving the desired outcomes.

Research Project

CPL will identify the impacts of participation in GAIN and GROW on employment outcomes by using administrative data from the GAIN and GROW programs, linked with earnings data from the Employment Development Department.  Various strategies to estimate impacts will be used including weighting exercises to compare program participants to similar non-participants that received food subsidies through CalFresh, as well as instrumental variable methods based on distances between residences and service locations.

Research Team

Dr. Robert Santillano (Co-Principal Investigator) and Professor Till von Wachter (Co-Principal Investigator) Brian Blackwell, Molly Moran, Wahid Khan, Mary Yang



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