Key provisions of the Texas TANF waiver, Achieving Change for Texans (ACT), allowed the state to implement variable time limits, sanctions, and geographically-targeted work assistance programs. An innovative aspect of ACT was the provision that the state's variable time limits did not begin until a case was notified of an available slot in the job assistance program. Thus, state time limits were directly linked with the provision of job services while sanction penalties were applicable to the entire caseload. In this paper, we examine the time limit and sanction effects on the duration of cash assistance for all families that entered the caseload from January 1997 to September 1999. The findings suggest that nonrnetropolitan families are more likely to be sanctioned and have longer spell durations than metropolitan families. In both areas, the imposition of sanctions and state time limits increased the likelihood of exiting the caseload.

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