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Marriage and Economic Incentives: Evidence from a Welfare Experiment

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  • Wei-Yin Hu
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    Abstract

    Can economic incentives be used to affect marriage behavior and slow the growth of single-parent families? This paper provides new evidence on the effects of welfare benefit levels on the marital decisions of poor women. Exogenous variation in welfare benefit incentives arises from a randomized experiment carried out in California that allows me to measure responses beyond simple year-to-year changes in benefit levels. I find that a regime of lower benefits and stronger work incentives encourages married aid recipients to stay married, but has little effect on the probability that single-parent aid recipients marry. The effects on married recipients become larger over time, suggesting that long-run effects may exist.

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    File URL: http://jhr.uwpress.org/cgi/reprint/XXXVIII/4/942
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    Bibliographic Info

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

    Volume (Year): 38 (2003)
    Issue (Month): 4 ()
    Pages:

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    Handle: RePEc:uwp:jhriss:v:38:y:2003:i:4:p942-963

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

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    Cited by:
    1. Martin Halla & Mario Lackner & Johann Scharler, 2013. "Does the Welfare State Destroy the Family? Evidence from OECD Member Countries," Economics working papers 2013-04, Department of Economics, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
    2. 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 898, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Research on Child Wellbeing..
    3. Mark L. Hoekstra & Scott Hankins, 2007. "Lucky in Life, Unlucky in Love? The Effect of Random Income Shocks on Marriage and Divorce," Working Papers 329, University of Pittsburgh, Department of Economics, revised Apr 2009.
    4. Nancy R. Burstein, 2007. "Economic influences on marriage and divorce," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 26(2), pages 387-429.

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