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Welfare Benefits and Female Headship in U.S. Time Series

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  • Robert A. Moffitt

Abstract

A considerable amount of work has been done on the relationship between AFDC benefits and family structure in the United States. The evidence to date—based on cross-state variation in welfare benefits and family structure, often with state fixed effects—indicates that there is some nonzero effect of those benefits on marriage and fertility, although disagreement remains about the magnitude of the effect. It is undisputed, however, that time-series trends in family structure are not correlated in the direction that the cross-state evidence would suggest, because real benefits have been falling, even relative to wages, in aggregate time series. This paper reexamines the time-series evidence with particular attention to the role of wages in explaining trends in headship, and notes that the correct specification includes male as well as female wages. When both are controlled, welfare benefits have a slight positive impact on female headship even in time series. The results demonstrate the importance of labor market factors in explaining trends in female headship.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 90 (2000)
Issue (Month): 2 (May)
Pages: 373-377

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:90:y:2000:i:2:p:373-377

Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.90.2.373
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  1. Dickins, William T, 1990. "Error Components in Grouped Data: Is It Ever Worth Weighting?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 72(2), pages 328-33, May.
  2. Levy, Frank & Murnane, Richard J, 1992. "U.S. Earnings Levels and Earnings Inequality: A Review of Recent Trends and Proposed Explanations," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 30(3), pages 1333-81, September.
  3. Katz, Lawrence F. & Autor, David H., 1999. "Changes in the wage structure and earnings inequality," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 26, pages 1463-1555 Elsevier.
  4. Danziger, Sheldon, et al, 1982. "Work and Welfare as Determinants of Female Poverty and Household Headship," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 97(3), pages 519-34, August.
  5. Hotz, V-J & Kerman, J-A & Willis, R-J, 1996. "The Economics of Fertility in Developed Countries : A Survey," Papers 96-09, RAND - Labor and Population Program.
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Cited by:
  1. Gonzalez, Libertad, 2007. "The effect of benefits on single motherhood in Europe," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(3), pages 393-412, June.
  2. Libertad González Luna, 2005. "The determinants of the prevalence of single mothers: A cross-country analysis," Economics Working Papers 876, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  3. John Fitzgerald & David Ribar, 2004. "Transitions in Welfare Participation and Female Headship," Working Papers 04-01, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  4. Mary C. Daly & Robert G. Valletta, 2000. "Inequality and poverty in the United States: the effects of changing family behavior and rising wage dispersion," Working Paper Series 2000-06, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  5. David Brady & Rebekah Burroway, 2012. "Targeting, Universalism, and Single-Mother Poverty: A Multilevel Analysis Across 18 Affluent Democracies," Demography, Springer, vol. 49(2), pages 719-746, May.
  6. Jie Chen, 2006. "The Dynamics of Housing Allowance Claims in Sweden: A Discrete Time-Hazard Analysis," European Journal of Housing Policy, Taylor and Francis Journals, vol. 6(1), pages 1-29, April.
  7. Joe Stone, 2012. "The Black-White Gap in Non Marital Fertility: Education and Mates in Segmented Marriage Markets," Journal of Labor Research, Springer, vol. 33(3), pages 328-336, September.
  8. JoAnna Gray & Jean Stockard & Joe Stone & Hartmut Egger, 2008. "The rising share of nonmarital births: Fertility choice or marriage behavior?," University of Oregon Economics Department Working Papers 2008-4, University of Oregon Economics Department.
  9. Dirk Konietzka & Michaela Kreyenfeld, 2005. "Nichteheliche Mutterschaft und soziale Ungleichheit: zur sozioökonomischen Differenzierung der Familienformen in Ost- und Westdeutschland," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2005-001, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
  10. Edith Duclos & Pierre Lefebvre & Philip Merrigan, 2001. "A 'Natural Experiment' on the Economics of Storks: Evidence on the Impact of Differential Family Policy on Fertility Rates in Canada," Cahiers de recherche CREFE / CREFE Working Papers 136, CREFE, Université du Québec à Montréal.
  11. Arnstein Aassve, 2003. "The impact of economic resources on premarital childbearing and subsequent marriage among young American women," Demography, Springer, vol. 40(1), pages 105-126, February.
  12. Sakata, Kei & McKenzie, C.R., 2009. "The impact of divorce precedents on the Japanese divorce rate," Mathematics and Computers in Simulation (MATCOM), Elsevier, vol. 79(9), pages 2917-2926.
  13. Sakata, K. & McKenzie, C.R., 2011. "Social security and divorce in Japan," Mathematics and Computers in Simulation (MATCOM), Elsevier, vol. 81(7), pages 1507-1517.
  14. Maria Cancian & Daniel Meyer & Steven Cook, 2011. "The Evolution of Family Complexity from the Perspective of Nonmarital Children," Demography, Springer, vol. 48(3), pages 957-982, August.

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