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The Impact of Welfare on Young Mothers' Subsequent Childbearing Decisions

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  • Gregory Acs
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    Abstract

    Politicians, the press, and the public have become increasingly worried about welfare becoming a "lifestyle" in which women have multiple births both to increase their incomes and to prolong their stays on the welfare roles. Such concerns have given rise to policy proposals such as the "family cap" which would deny welfare recipients higher welfare payments if they have another child while on welfare. This paper examines the relationship between welfare and births to women who already have a child, using data on young mothers from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY). I find that variations in welfare benefit levels and the incremental benefit have no statistically significant impacts on the subsequent childbearing decisions of young mothers in general, nor on the subsequent childbearing decisions of women who received welfare in particular. Furthermore, mothers who received welfare to support their first children are no more likely to have additional children in any given year through the age of 23.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by University of Wisconsin Press in its journal Journal of Human Resources.

    Volume (Year): 31 (1996)
    Issue (Month): 4 ()
    Pages: 898-915

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    Handle: RePEc:uwp:jhriss:v:31:y:1996:i:4:p:898-915

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    Web page: http://jhr.uwpress.org/

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    Cited by:
    1. Ann Horvath-Rose & H. Peters & Joseph Sabia, 2008. "Capping Kids: The Family Cap and Nonmarital Childbearing," Population Research and Policy Review, Springer, Springer, vol. 27(2), pages 119-138, April.
    2. Jagannathan, Radha & Camasso, Michael J., 2011. "Message and price components of Family Caps: Experimental evidence from New Jersey," Evaluation and Program Planning, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 292-302, August.
    3. R. A. Moffitt, . "The Effect of Welfare on Marriage and Fertility: What Do We Know and What Do We Need to Know?," Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers, University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty 1153-97, University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty.
    4. Robert W. Fairlie & Rebecca A. London, 1997. "The effect of incremental benefit levels on births to AFDC recipients," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 16(4), pages 575-597.
    5. Shinsuke Tanaka & Takahiro Ito, 2014. "Abolishing User Fees, Fertility Choice, and Educational Attainment," IDEC DP2 Series, Hiroshima University, Graduate School for International Development and Cooperation (IDEC) 4-1, Hiroshima University, Graduate School for International Development and Cooperation (IDEC).
    6. Gregory Acs & Sandi Nelson, 2004. "Changes in living arrangements during the late 1990s: Do welfare policies matter?," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 23(2), pages 273-290.
    7. Rebecca M. Blank, 2002. "Evaluating Welfare Reform in the United States," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 40(4), pages 1105-1166, December.
    8. Jean Knab & Irv Garfinkel & Sara McLanahan & Emily Moiduddin & Cynthia Osborne, 2007. "The Effects of Welfare and Child Support Policies on the Timing and Incidence of Marriage Following a Nonmarital Birth," Working Papers, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Research on Child Wellbeing. 898, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Research on Child Wellbeing..
    9. repec:hir:idecdp:3-12 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Laura Argys & Brian Duncan, 2013. "Economic Incentives and Foster Child Adoption," Demography, Springer, Springer, vol. 50(3), pages 933-954, June.
    11. Guy Stecklov & Paul Winters & Jessica Todd & Ferdinando Regalia, 2006. "Demographic Externalities from Poverty Programs in Developing Countries: Experimental Evidence from Latin America," Working Papers, American University, Department of Economics 2006-01, American University, Department of Economics.
    12. Melissa Schettini Kearney, 2002. "Is There an Effect of Incremental Welfare Benefits on Fertility Behavior? A Look at the Family Cap," NBER Working Papers 9093, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Oscar A. Mitnik, 2007. "Intergenerational transmission of welfare dependency: The effects of length of exposure," Working Papers, University of Miami, Department of Economics 0715, University of Miami, Department of Economics.
    14. Alma Cohen & Rajeev Dehejia & Dmitri Romanov, 2007. "Do Financial Incentives Affect Fertility?," NBER Working Papers 13700, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    15. 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.
    16. Ann E. Horvath-Rose & H. Elizabeth Peters, 2000. "Welfare Waivers and Non-Marital Childbearing," JCPR Working Papers, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research 128, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
    17. Wendy Tanisha Dyer & Robert W. Fairlie, 2003. "Do Family Caps Reduce Out-of-Wedlock Births? Evidence from Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, New Jersey and Virginia," Working Papers, Economic Growth Center, Yale University 877, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.

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