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Fragile Families and Welfare Reform

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  • Irwin Garfinkel
  • Sara McLanahan
  • Kristen Harknett
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    Abstract

    The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PRWORA) is designed to shift more of the responsibility for poor children from government to parents. To accomplish this goal, the new law requires welfare clients to work and limits the total number of years they can receive assistance. In addition, the new legislation requires unwed fathers to establish paternity and strengthens child support enforcement among nonresident fathers. Although many people believe that poor children would be better off if their mothers worked and their fathers were more involved in their upbringing, the scientific evidence for these assumptions is weak. We know very little about the ability of poor parents to support their children, and we know even less about their ability to cooperate with one another. Whether recent welfare reform is good public policy will depend in large part on the answers to the following questions: What are the conditions and capabilities of low-income parents, especially fathers? What is the nature of the parents' relationships in low-income families? How many couples are involved in stable, long-term relationships? How many fathers want to be involved in raising their children? How are policies being implemented at the local level? How will they affect parents' capabilities and relationships? And how will they affect child wellbeing? This paper describes a new study - Fragile Families and Child Well being - that is uniquely suited to answer these three questions.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research in its series JCPR Working Papers with number 113.

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    Date of creation: 01 Aug 1999
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    Handle: RePEc:wop:jopovw:113

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    Postal: Harris Graduate School of Public Policy Studies, 1155 E. 60th Street Chicago, IL 60637
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    Web page: http://www.jcpr.org/wp/ByDate.html
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    References

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    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.:
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    1. Schultz, T.P., 1993. "Marital Status and Fertility in the United States: Welfare and Labor Market Effects," Papers 703, Yale - Economic Growth Center.
    2. Lucia A. Nixon, 1997. "The Effect of Child Support Enforcement on Marital Dissolution," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 32(1), pages 159-181.
    3. Daniel, K., 1991. "Does Marriage Make Men More Productive?," University of Chicago - Economics Research Center 92-2, Chicago - Economics Research Center.
    4. Sanders Korenman & David Neumark, 1991. "Does Marriage Really Make Men More Productive?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 26(2), pages 282-307.
    5. Moffitt, Robert, 1992. "Incentive Effects of the U.S. Welfare System: A Review," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 30(1), pages 1-61, March.
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    Cited by:
    1. Robert I. Lerman & Elaine Sorenson, 2003. "Child Support: Interactions between Private and Public Transfers," NBER Chapters, in: Means-Tested Transfer Programs in the United States, pages 587-628 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Ronald Mincy & Shoshana Grossbard & Chien-Chung Huang, 2005. "An Economic Analysis of Co-Parenting Choices: Single Parent, Visiting Father, Cohabitation, Marriage," Labor and Demography 0505004, EconWPA.
    3. Carol Harvey & Michael J. Camasso & Radha Jagannathan, 2000. "Evaluating Welfare Reform Waivers under Section 1115," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(4), pages 165-188, Fall.

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