The reform of welfare aid voted on August 22, 1996, set up on a federal scale a system of “Workfare” for recipients of welfare aid. This law was one element in the overall strategy for the fight against poverty set up in the early 1990’s in a context of strong economic growth, and it had the aim of returning recipients of welfare aid to employment. Starting from a survey of recent economic literature trying to dissociate the effects of the economic growth from the reforms, on three counts – the number of recipients – employment rates – and lastly, the poverty rate ; the article questions the viability of the structural changes introduced in the event of a turn-round in the economic situation. According to the studies analysed, growth must have had a significant role in explaining the fall in the number of recipients, the recovery in employment rates, and the drop in poverty rates. In a period of slower growth the current system of welfare aid and unemployment coverage would not prove equal to the unemployment risks faced by the former recipients.
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