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What Did the "Illegitimacy Bonus" Reward?

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Author Info

  • Korenman Sanders

    ()
    (Baruch College, CUNY and NBER)

  • Joyce Ted

    ()
    (Baruch College, City University of NY)

  • Kaestner Robert

    ()
    (University of Illinois at Chicago)

  • Walper Jennifer

    ()
    (Baruch College, CUNY)

Abstract

The Out-Of-Wedlock Birth Reduction Bonus (“Illegitimacy Bonus”), part of the 1996 welfare reform legislation, awarded up to $100 million in each of five years to the five states with the greatest reduction in the non-marital birth ratio. Alabama, Michigan, and Washington D.C. each won bonuses four or more times, claiming nearly 60% of award monies. However, for these bonus winners, changes in the racial composition of births accounted for between one-third and 100% of the decline in the non-marital birth ratio. The non-marital birth ratio fell most in D.C., averaging 1.5 percentage points per year over the award period. Declines in non-marital birth ratios in Michigan and Alabama were slight. But the non-marital birth ratio fell in D.C. in large part because the number of black children born there fell dramatically, and a decline in the black population alone accounted for one third of the decline in black births. Within-race changes in non-marital birth ratios raised the overall non-marital birth ratio 0.5 percentage points in Alabama, and lowered the non-marital ratio by one percentage point in Michigan, and by about three percentage points in Washington D.C. Because it was based on unadjusted changes in states’ aggregate non-martial birth ratios, the Illegitimacy Bonus rewarded racial/ethnic compositional changes at least as much as it rewarded declining non-marital birth ratios within major racial/ethnic groups.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by De Gruyter in its journal The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy.

Volume (Year): 6 (2006)
Issue (Month): 1 (April)
Pages: 1-36

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Handle: RePEc:bpj:bejeap:v:topics.6:y:2006:i:1:n:8

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  1. Ted Joyce & Robert Kaestner & Sanders Korenman & Stanley Henshaw, 2004. "Family Cap Provisions and Changes in Births and Abortions," NBER Working Papers 10214, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Theodore Joyce & Robert Kaestner & Sanders Korenman, 2002. "Welfare Reform and Non-Marital Fertility in the 1990s: Evidence from Birth Records," NBER Working Papers 9406, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Robert Moffitt, 2001. "The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program," Economics Working Paper Archive 463, The Johns Hopkins University,Department of Economics.
  4. Rebecca M. Blank, 2002. "Evaluating Welfare Reform in the United States," NBER Working Papers 8983, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Robert Kaestner & Neeraj Kaushal & Gregg Van Ryzin, 2001. "Migration Consequences of Welfare Reform," NBER Working Papers 8560, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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