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Welfare Waivers and Non-Marital Childbearing

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  • Ann E. Horvath-Rose
  • H. Elizabeth Peters

Abstract

In the late 1980's states began applying to the US Department of Health and Human Services for waivers granting permission to implement state level welfare policies that differed from existing federal policy. An explicit goal of state policymakers was to use policy tools to alter incentives in order to influence unmarried women's fertility decisions. This paper estimates the extent to which welfare waivers may have played a role in lowering the ratio of non-marital births and how this effect differed across age groups and races. The analysis uses aggregate state level data for the years 1984 through 1996 and estimates fixed-effect regression models. Waivers at each level of the process of request, approval, and implementation are found to be consistently negatively correlated with non-marital birth ratios. The family cap waiver is shown to be a useful policy tool for lowering non-marital fertility.

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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 128.

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Date of creation: 01 Jan 2000
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Handle: RePEc:wop:jopovw:128

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Postal: Harris Graduate School of Public Policy Studies, 1155 E. 60th Street Chicago, IL 60637
Phone: 773-702-0472
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Web page: http://www.jcpr.org/wp/ByDate.html
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References

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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. B. L. Wolfe & S. Hill, . "The health, earnings capacity, and poverty of single-mother families," Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers 964-92, University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty.
  3. Rebecca M. Blank, 2000. "What Causes Public Assistance Caseloads to Grow?," JCPR Working Papers 18, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
  4. Joan Kahn & Kay Anderson, 1992. "Intergenerational patterns of teenage fertility," Demography, Springer, vol. 29(1), pages 39-57, February.
  5. Mary Jo Bane & David T. Ellwood, 1986. "Slipping into and out of Poverty: The Dynamics of Spells," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 21(1), pages 1-23.
  6. Susan L. Averett & Daniel I. Rees & Laura M. Argys, 2000. "Welfare generosity, pregnancies and abortions among unmarried AFDC recipients," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 13(4), pages 569-594.
  7. Josefine Card, 1981. "Long-term consequences for children of teenage parents," Demography, Springer, vol. 18(2), pages 137-156, May.
  8. Robert W. Fairlie & Rebecca A. London, 1997. "The effect of incremental benefit levels on births to AFDC recipients," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 16(4), pages 575-597.
  9. Greg Duncan & Saul Hoffman, 1990. "Welfare benefits, economic opportunities, and out-of-wedlock births among black teenage girls," Demography, Springer, vol. 27(4), pages 519-535, November.
  10. Antel, John J, 1992. "The Intergenerational Transfer of Welfare Dependency: Some Statistical Evidence," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 74(3), pages 467-73, August.
  11. Lundberg, S. & Plotnick, R.D., 1994. "Adolescent Premarital Childbearing: Do Economic Incentives Matters?," Discussion Papers in Economics at the University of Washington 94-4, Department of Economics at the University of Washington.
  12. Murray, Charles, 1993. "Welfare and the Family: The U.S. Experience," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 11(1), pages S224-62, January.
  13. David N. Figlio & James P. Ziliak, 1999. "Welfare Reform, the Business Cycle, and the Decline in AFDC Caseloads," JCPR Working Papers 77, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
  14. 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.
  15. P. K. Robins & P. Fronstin, . "Welfare benefits and family-size decisions of never-married women," Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers 1022-93, University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty.
  16. Karin Brewster, 1994. "Neighborhood context and the transition to sexual activity among young black women," Demography, Springer, vol. 31(4), pages 603-614, November.
  17. An, Chong-Bum & Haveman, Robert & Wolfe, Barbara, 1993. "Teen Out-of-Wedlock Births and Welfare Receipt: The Role of Childhood Events and Economic Circumstances," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 75(2), pages 195-208, May.
  18. Geronimus, Arline T & Korenman, Sanders, 1992. "The Socioeconomic Consequences of Teen Childbearing Reconsidered," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 107(4), pages 1187-214, November.
  19. Moffitt, Robert, 1990. "The effect of the U.S. welfare system on marital status," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 101-124, February.
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