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Changes in the Consumption, Income, and Well-Being of Single Mother Headed Families

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  • Bruce D. Meyer
  • James X. Sullivan

Abstract

We investigate well-being changes for single mother headed families targeted by recent tax and welfare reforms. Measured income changes sharply differ from consumption changes. We examine disaggregated consumption, time use, and health insurance coverage. Increases in housing and transportation spending mostly account for the rise in consumption in the bottom quintiles. We find modest improvement in housing quality, but the evidence is less strong at the very bottom. The consumption of nonmarket time for those in the bottom half of the consumption distribution falls sharply, indicating a loss in utility for those families if nonmarket time is valued above $3 per hour. (JEL D12, I31, I32, J12, J16)

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Bibliographic Info

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

Volume (Year): 98 (2008)
Issue (Month): 5 (December)
Pages: 2221-41

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:98:y:2008:i:5:p:2221-41

Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.98.5.2221
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Cited by:
  1. Michael Clemens and Erwin Tiongson, 2013. "Split Decisions: Family Finance When a Policy Discontinuity Allocates Overseas Work," Working Papers 324, Center for Global Development.
  2. Adam Bee & Bruce D. Meyer & James X. Sullivan, 2013. "The Validity of Consumption Data: Are the Consumer Expenditure Interview and Diary Surveys Informative?," NBER Chapters, in: Improving the Measurement of Consumer Expenditures National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Marianne Bitler & Hilary W. Hoynes, 2010. "The state of the safety net in the post-welfare reform era," Working Paper Series 2010-31, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  4. Christian Raschke, 2012. "Food stamps and the time cost of food preparation," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 259-275, June.
  5. Harley Frazis & Jay Stewart, 2010. "How to Think About Time-Use Data: What Inferences Can We Make About Long- and Short-Run Time Use from Time Diaries?," Working Papers 442, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  6. Bruce D. Meyer & James X. Sullivan, 2009. "Five Decades of Consumption and Income Poverty," Working Papers 0907, Harris School of Public Policy Studies, University of Chicago.
  7. Gelber, Alexander M. & Mitchell, Joshua W., 2009. "Taxes and Time Allocation: Evidence from Single Women," MPRA Paper 19148, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  8. Zabel, Cordula, 2013. "Effects of participating in skill training and workfare on employment entries for lone mothers receiving means-tested benefits in Germany," IAB Discussion Paper 201303, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany].
  9. Mazzolari, Francesca & Ragusa, Giuseppe, 2012. "Time Limits: The Effects on Welfare Use and Other Consumption-Smoothing Mechanisms," IZA Discussion Papers 6993, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  10. Alessandra Michelangeli & Eugenio Peluso & Alain Trannoy, 2011. "Detecting a change in wealth concentration without the knowledge of the wealth distribution," Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer, vol. 9(3), pages 373-391, September.
  11. Ayala, Luis & Rodríguez, Magdalena, 2013. "Health-related effects of welfare-to-work policies," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 103-112.
  12. Marianne P. Bitler & Hilary W. Hoynes, 2010. "The State of Social Safety Net in the Post-Welfare Reform Era," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 41(2 (Fall)), pages 71-147.

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