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Relationship break-down and the economic welfare of Australian mothers and their children


Author Info

  • Matthew Gray

    (Australian Institute of Family Studies)

  • Bruce Chapman

    (Australian National University)


This paper provides estimates of the effects of divorce on the lifetime incomes of mothers. This is an issue that is not well explored in most countries, and has been essentially untouched empirically in the Australian context. The paper extends the existing literature, which has generally focused on the short-term economic implications of divorce for mothers. Simulations are used to provide insights into the impact of divorce for a host of disparate circumstances. It is found that the relative income costs of divorce differ greatly depending upon the relative earnings capacity of the mother and father. Women with a much lower earning capacity than their partner face particularly large income costs of divorce. It is also found that the relative income costs of divorce fall as the number of children increases. The importance of child support payment to the household income of mothers following divorce is highlighted and that the income of mothers would be higher if they received child support at levels commensurate with the government’s non-resident parent child support rules, rather than the levels they report actually receiving.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre (BCEC), Curtin Business School in its journal Australian Journal of Labour Economics.

Volume (Year): 10 (2007)
Issue (Month): 4 (December)
Pages: 253-277

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Handle: RePEc:ozl:journl:v:10:y:2007:i:4:p:253-277

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Related research

Keywords: Marriage; marital dissolution; family structure; domestic abuse; Welfare and poverty; government programs; provision and effects of welfare programs; Labour Economics;

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Cited by:
  1. Rebecca Kippen & Bruce Chapman & Peng Yu, 2010. "What's love got to do with it? Homogamy and dyadic approaches to understanding marital instability," CEPR Discussion Papers 631, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
  2. Hayley Fisher & Hamish Low, 2012. "Financial implications of relationship breakdown: does marriage matter?," IFS Working Papers W12/17, Institute for Fiscal Studies.


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