Welfare Reform and Lone Parents in the UK
AbstractThe last thirty years saw dramatic increases in the proportion of children living in lone parent households. In 1997 the incoming Labour government initiated a series of policy reforms aimed at reducing this high level of child poverty. A key element of their strategy was a move towards increasing employment rates among families with children by a combination of increased in-work support through the Working Families Tax Credit and active case management of the population on welfare through the New Deal for Lone Parents. The assessment of this policy reform agenda has focused to date mainly on lone mothers’ employment and poverty. In this paper we extend this to include at the impact on the numbers of lone parent families and a range of outcomes for mothers and children. We cover mothers’ mental well-being and health, child outcomes and relationship patterns. As well as representing the basic facts about employment incomes and hours of work. Our results show there was no significant impact of these policy reforms on family structure. Mothers malaise scores are, unsurprisingly, very high on family break up but they tend to recover after around 2 years. WFTC is found to reduce the spike of high malaise co-incident with the transition into lone parenthood but to have no longer term effects. This decline in malaise is strongly associated with improved financial indicators. Adolescent children in lone parents families report lower self-esteem, more unhappiness, lower quality relationships with the mother and a number of worse or risky behaviours. Difference-in-difference techniques suggest a marked narrowing if these gaps since WFTC. The magnitude of these changes are quite large, half of the gap in self-esteem and unhappiness scores and in truanting, smoking and planning to leave school at age 16 are eliminated after the policy reforms. This strongly suggests that the increases in incomes and employment associated with the reforms have profoundly changed the quality of life children in lone parent families.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK in its series The Centre for Market and Public Organisation with number 07/182.
Length: 36 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2007
Date of revision:
Welfare reform; lone parents; tax Credits;
Other versions of this item:
- J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
- J18 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Public Policy
- H53 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Welfare Programs
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Paul Gregg & Susan Harkness & Stephen Machin, 1999. "Poor kids: trends in child poverty in Britain, 1968-96," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 20(2), pages 163-187, June.
- Greg Duncan & P. Lindsay Chase-Lansdale, 2001. "Welfare Reform and Child Well-being," JCPR Working Papers 217, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
- Richard Blundell & Alan Duncan & Julian McCrae & Costas Meghir, 2000. "The labour market impact of the working families’ tax credit," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 21(1), pages 75-103, March.
- Richard Blundell & Hilary W. Hoynes, 2004.
"Has 'In-Work' Benefit Reform Helped the Labor Market?,"
in: Seeking a Premier Economy: The Economic Effects of British Economic Reforms, 1980-2000, pages 411-460
National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Hilary Hoynes & Richard Blundell, 2001. "Has "In-Work" Benefit Reform Helped the Labour Market?," NBER Working Papers 8546, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Marco Francesconi & Helmut Rainer & Wilbert van der Klaauw, 2009.
"Unintended Consequences of Welfare Reform: The Case of Divorced Parents,"
CRIEFF Discussion Papers
0901, Centre for Research into Industry, Enterprise, Finance and the Firm.
- Francesconi, Marco & Rainer, Helmut & Van Der Klaauw, Wilbert, 2008. "Unintended Consequences of Welfare Reform: The Case of Divorced Parents," CEPR Discussion Papers 7107, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Francesconi, Marco & Rainer, Helmut & van der Klaauw, Wilbert, 2008. "Unintended Consequences of Welfare Reform: The Case of Divorced Parents," IZA Discussion Papers 3891, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- 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].
- Timo Hener, 2013. "Labeling Effects of Child Benefits on Family Savings," Ifo Working Paper Series Ifo Working Paper No. 163, Ifo Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich.
- Mike Brewer & Anita Ratcliffe & Sarah Smith, 2008.
"Does welfare reform affect fertility? Evidence from the UK,"
IFS Working Papers
W08/09, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
- Mike Brewer & Anita Ratcliffe & Sarah dSmith, 2012. "Does welfare reform affect fertility? Evidence from the UK," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 25(1), pages 245-266, January.
- Mike Brewer & Anita Ratcliffe & Sarah Smith, 2007. "Does Welfare Reform Affect Fertility? Evidence from the UK," The Centre for Market and Public Organisation 07/177, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
- Chiara Pronzato, 2013. "Fighting Lone Mothers' Poverty through in-Work Benefits - Methodological Issues and Policy Suggestions," CESifo Working Paper Series 4375, CESifo Group Munich.
- Lorenzo Cappellari & Stephen P. Jenkins, 2008.
"The Dynamics of Social Assistance Receipt: Measurement and Modelling Issues, with an Application to Britain,"
Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin
828, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
- Lorenzo Cappellari & Stephen P. Jenkins, 2008. "The dynamics of social assistance receipt: measurement and modelling issues, with an application to Britain," Working Papers 101, ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality.
- Cappellari, Lorenzo & Jenkins, Stephen P., 2008. "The Dynamics of Social Assistance Receipt: Measurement and Modelling Issues, with an Application to Britain," IZA Discussion Papers 3765, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- Lorenzo Cappellari & Stephen P. Jenkins, 2008. "The Dynamics of Social Assistance Receipt: Measurement and Modelling Issues, with an Application to Britain," OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers 67, OECD Publishing.
- Pronzato, Chiara D., 2012. "Comparing Quasi-Experimental Designs and Structural Models for Policy Evaluation: The Case of a Reform of Lone Parental Welfare," IZA Discussion Papers 6803, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- Callan, Tim & Nolan, Brian & Walsh, John R. & Whelan, Christopher T. & Maitre, Bertrand, 2008. "Tackling Low Income and Deprivation: Developing Effective Policies," Research Series, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI), number RS1.
- Cappellari, Lorenzo & Jenkins, Stephen P., 2009.
"The Dynamics of Social Assistance Benefit Receipt in Britain,"
IZA Discussion Papers
4457, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- Ghazala Azmat, 2006. "The impact of tax credits on labour supply," Economics Working Papers 979, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Jul 2009.
- repec:rdg:emxxdp:em-dp2010-03 is not listed on IDEAS
- Zabel, Cordula, 2011. "Lone mothers' participation in labor market programs for means-tested benefit recipients in Germany," IAB Discussion Paper 201114, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany].
- Richard Blundell & Marco Francesconi & Wilbert van der Klaauw, 2011.
"Anatomy of Welfare Reform Evaluation:Announcement and Implementation Effects,"
Economics Discussion Papers
698, University of Essex, Department of Economics.
- Blundell, Richard & Francesconi, Marco & van der Klaauw, Wilbert, 2011. "Anatomy of Welfare Reform Evaluation: Announcement and Implementation Effects," IZA Discussion Papers 6050, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- repec:spr:jopoec:v:25:y:2011:i:1:p:245-266 is not listed on IDEAS
- Alan S Duncan & Mark N Harris & Anthony Harris & Eugenio Zucchelli, 2013. "The Influence of Psychological Well-being, Ill Health and Health Shocks on Single Parents' Labour Supply," Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre Working Paper series WP1307, Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre (BCEC), Curtin Business School.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Jacqui Barton).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.