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Welfare Reform and Non-Marital Fertility in the 1990s: Evidence from Birth Records

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  • Theodore Joyce
  • Robert Kaestner
  • Sanders Korenman

Abstract

The 1996 Personal Responsibility Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act dramatically altered the economic incentive to bear children out-of-wedlock for economically disadvantaged women or couples most likely to avail themselves of welfare programs. We use data from vital statistics and a difference-in-differences research design to investigate whether state and federal welfare reform in the 1990s reduced rates of non-marital childbearing among women aged 19 to 39 at highest risk of welfare use, relative to women at lower risk. We find little consistent evidence for an effect of welfare reform on non-marital childbearing. This finding is similar to the literature that found little or mixed evidence for an effect of AFDC benefits. If anything, federal welfare reform has been associated with a small positive effect of two to three percent for white and black women ages 19 to 39.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 9406.

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Date of creation: Dec 2002
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Publication status: published as Ted Joyce & Robert Kaestner & Sanders Korenman, 2003. "Welfare Reform and Non-Marital Fertility in the 1990s: Evidence from Birth Records," Advances in Economic Analysis & Policy, Berkeley Electronic Press, vol. 3(1), pages 1108-1108.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9406

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  1. Bruce D. Meyer & Dan T. Rosenbaum, 1999. "Welfare, the Earned Income Tax Credit, and the Labor Supply of Single Mothers," NBER Working Papers 7363, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Bruce D. Meyer & Dan T. Rosenbaum, 1999. "Making Single Mothers Work: Recent Tax and Welfare Policy and its Effects," JCPR Working Papers, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research 152, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
  3. Melissa Schettini Kearney, 2004. "Is There an Effect of Incremental Welfare Benefits on Fertility Behavior?: A Look at the Family Cap," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(2).
  4. Dave M. O'Neill & June Ellenoff O'Neill, 1997. "Lessons for Welfare Reform: An Analysis of the AFDC Caseload and Past Welfare-to-Work Programs," Books from Upjohn Press, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, number lwr.
  5. Jeffrey Grogger, 2004. "Time Limits and Welfare Use," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(2).
  6. 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.
  7. Becker, Gary S & Lewis, H Gregg, 1973. "On the Interaction between the Quantity and Quality of Children," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(2), pages S279-88, Part II, .
  8. Meyer, Bruce D. & Rosenbaum, Dan T., 2000. "Making Single Mothers Work: Recent Tax and Welfare Policy and its Effects," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 53(n. 4), pages 1027-62, December.
  9. Marianne Bertrand & Esther Duflo & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2002. "How Much Should We Trust Differences-in-Differences Estimates?," NBER Working Papers 8841, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Neeraj Kaushal & Robert Kaestner, 2001. "From Welfare to Work: Has Welfare Reform Worked?," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 20(4), pages 699-719.
  11. Robert A. Moffitt, 1999. "The Effect of Pre-PRWORA Waivers on AFDC Caseloads and Female Earnings, Income, and Labor Force Behavior," JCPR Working Papers, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research 89, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
  12. 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.
  13. Marcia K. Meyers & Janet C. Gornick & Laura R. Peck, 2001. "Packaging Support for Low-Income Families: Policy Variation across the United States," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 20(3), pages 457-483.
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Cited by:
  1. repec:lan:wpaper:2277 is not listed on IDEAS
  2. repec:lan:wpaper:2415 is not listed on IDEAS
  3. repec:lan:wpaper:2159 is not listed on IDEAS
  4. repec:lan:wpaper:599359 is not listed on IDEAS
  5. 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.
  6. repec:lan:wpaper:2161 is not listed on IDEAS
  7. Paul Bingley & Ian Walker, 2013. "The labour supply effects of a partial cash-out of in-kind transfers to single mothers," IZA Journal of Labor Economics, Springer, Springer, vol. 2(1), pages 1-27, December.

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