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Family Cap Provisions and Changes in Births and Abortions

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  • Ted Joyce
  • Robert Kaestner
  • Sanders Korenman
  • Stanley Henshaw

Abstract

As part of welfare reform efforts in the 1990s, twenty-three states implemented family caps, provisions that deny or reduce cash assistance to welfare recipients who have additional births. We use birth and abortion records from 24 states to estimate effects of family caps on birth and abortion rates. We use age, marital status and completed schooling to identify women at high risk for use of public assistance, and parity (number of previous live births) to identify those most directly affected by the family cap. In family cap states, birth rates fell more and abortion rates rose more among high-risk women with at least one previous live birth compared to similar childless women, consistent with an effect of the family cap. However, this parity-specific pattern of births and abortions also occurred in states that implemented welfare reform with no family cap. Thus, the effects of welfare reform may have differed between mothers and childless women, but there is little evidence of an independent effect of the family cap.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 10214.

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Date of creation: Jan 2004
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Publication status: published as Joyce, T., Kaestner, R., Korenman, S., and S. Henshaw. “ Family Cap Provisions and Changes in Births and Abortions.” Population Research and Policy Review 23 (2004): 475-511.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:10214

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References

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  1. Robert A. Moffitt, 2003. "The Role of Randomized Field Trials in Social Science Research: A Perspective from Evaluations of Reforms of Social Welfare Programs," NBER Technical Working Papers 0295, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  6. James J. Heckman & Jeffrey A. Smith, 1995. "Assessing the Case for Social Experiments," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(2), pages 85-110, Spring.
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  8. Gregory Acs, 1996. "The Impact of Welfare on Young Mothers' Subsequent Childbearing Decisions," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 31(4), pages 898-915.
  9. Michael J. Camasso & Radha Jagannathan & Carol Harvey & Mark Killingsworth, 2003. "The use of client surveys to gauge the threat of contamination in welfare reform experiments," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 22(2), pages 207-223.
  10. Blank, Rebecca M. & George, Christine C. & London, Rebecca A., 1996. "State abortion rates the impact of policies, providers, politics, demographics, and economic environment," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(5), pages 513-553, October.
  11. Robert Moffitt, 2002. "The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program," NBER Working Papers 8749, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Robert F. Schoeni & Rebecca M. Blank, 2000. "What has Welfare Reform Accomplished? Impacts on Welfare Participation, Employment, Income, Poverty, and Family Structure," NBER Working Papers 7627, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. 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.
  14. Neeraj Kaushal & Robert Kaestner, 2001. "From Welfare to Work: Has Welfare Reform Worked?," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 20(4), pages 699-719.
  15. Phillip B. Levine, 2002. "The Impact of Social Policy and Economic Activity Throughout the Fertility Decision Tree," NBER Working Papers 9021, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Phillip B. Levine & Douglas Staiger, 2002. "Abortion as Insurance," NBER Working Papers 8813, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Cited by:
  1. Reagan Baughman & Stacy Dickert-Conlin, 2009. "The earned income tax credit and fertility," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 22(3), pages 537-563, July.
  2. Anne Gauthier, 2007. "The impact of family policies on fertility in industrialized countries: a review of the literature," Population Research and Policy Review, Springer, vol. 26(3), pages 323-346, June.
  3. Jagannathan, Radha & Camasso, Michael J., 2011. "Message and price components of Family Caps: Experimental evidence from New Jersey," Evaluation and Program Planning, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 292-302, August.
  4. Hal Snarr & Jeffrey Edwards, 2009. "Does income support increase abortions?," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 33(4), pages 575-599, November.
  5. Kelaher, Margaret & Dunt, David & Dodson, Sarity, 2007. "Unemployment, contraceptive behaviour and reproductive outcomes among young Australian women," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 82(1), pages 95-101, June.
  6. Ann Horvath-Rose & H. Peters & Joseph Sabia, 2008. "Capping Kids: The Family Cap and Nonmarital Childbearing," Population Research and Policy Review, Springer, vol. 27(2), pages 119-138, April.
  7. Lalive, Rafael & Zweimüller, Josef, 2005. "Does Parental Leave Affect Fertility and Return-to-Work? Evidence from a "True Natural Experiment"," IZA Discussion Papers 1613, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. 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 877, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
  9. Silvie Colman & Theodore J. Joyce, 2010. "Regulating Abortion: Impact on Patients and Providers in Texas," Mathematica Policy Research Reports 6548, Mathematica Policy Research.
  10. Ohinata, Asako, 2008. "Fertility Response to Financial Incentives-Evidence from the Working Families Tax Credit in the UK," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 851, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  11. Joseph Sabia, 2008. "Blacks and the family cap: pregnancy, abortion, and spillovers," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 21(1), pages 111-134, January.
  12. Sanders Korenman & Ted Joyce & Robert Kaestner & Jennifer Walper, 2004. "What Did the "Illegitimacy Bonus" Reward?," NBER Working Papers 10699, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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