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The Impact of Welfare Waivers on Female Headship Decisions

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  • John M. Fitzgerald
  • David Ribar

Abstract

While much of the focus of recent welfare reforms has been on moving recipients from welfare to work, many reforms were also directed at affecting decisions about living arrangements, pregnancy, marriage and cohabitation. This paper focuses on women?s decisions to become or remain unmarried mothers, that is, female heads of families. We assess the impact of welfare reform waivers on those decisions while controlling for confounding local economic and social contextual conditions. We pool the 1990, 1992, and 1993 panels of the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) which span the calendar time when many states began adopting welfare waivers. For its descriptors of local labor market conditions, the project uses skill specific measures of wages and employment opportunities for counties. We estimate models for levels of female headship and proportional hazard models for entry and exit from female headship. In the hazards, we employ stratified Cox partial likelihood methods and investigate the use of state fixed effects or state stratified hazard models to control for unmeasured state influences. Based on data through 1995, we find limited evidence that workencouraging waivers had a beneficial effect by reducing female headship of families. We find little evidence that family caps, teenage coresidence requirements or termination limits will reduce the number of single-parent families.

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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 247.

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Date of creation: 03 Dec 2001
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Handle: RePEc:wop:jopovw:247

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References

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  1. 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.
  2. Jeffrey Grogger & Charles Michalopoulos, 2003. "Welfare Dynamics under Time Limits," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 111(3), pages 530-554, June.
  3. David Card & Thomas Lemieux, 2000. "Adapting to Circumstances (The Evolution of Work, School,and Living Arrangements among North American Youth)," NBER Chapters, in: Youth Employment and Joblessness in Advanced Countries, pages 171-214 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. 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.
  5. Jeffrey Grogger, 2001. "The Effects of Time Limits and Other Policy Changes on Welfare Use, Work, and Income Among Female-Headed Families," NBER Working Papers 8153, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Robert A. Moffitt & LaDonna Pavetti, 1999. "Time Limits," JCPR Working Papers 91, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
  7. Fitzgerald John M, 2004. "Measuring the Impact of Welfare Benefits on Welfare Durations: State Stratified Partial Likelihood and Fixed Effect Approaches," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 4(1), pages 1-20, February.
  8. 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.
  9. Ridder, Geert & Tunali, Insan, 1999. "Stratified partial likelihood estimation," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 92(2), pages 193-232, October.
  10. Danziger, Sheldon, et al, 1982. "Work and Welfare as Determinants of Female Poverty and Household Headship," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 97(3), pages 519-34, August.
  11. Matthews, S. & Ribar, D. & Wilhelm, M., 1995. "The Effects of Economic Conditions and Access to Reproductive Health Services on State Abortion and Birth Rates," Papers 7-95-4, Pennsylvania State - Department of Economics.
  12. T. Paul Schultz, 1994. "Marital Status and Fertility in the United States: Welfare and Labor Market Effects," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 29(2), pages 637-669.
  13. David C Ribar, 2000. "County-Level Estimates of the Employment Prospects of Low-Skill Workers," Working Papers 00-11, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  14. Robert F. Schoeni & Rebecca M. Blank, 2000. "What Has Welfare Reform Accomplished? Impacts on Welfare Participation, Employment, Income, Poverty, and Family Structure," Working Papers 00-02, RAND Corporation Publications Department.
  15. Saul D. Hoffman & Greg J. Duncan, 1995. "The Effect of Incomes, Wages, and AFDC Benefits on Marital Disruption," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 30(1), pages 19-41.
  16. Christopher A. Swann, 2004. "Welfare Reform when Recipients are Forward-Looking," Department of Economics Working Papers 04-04, Stony Brook University, Department of Economics.
  17. Rebecca M. Blank, 2001. "What Causes Public Assistance Caseloads to Grow?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 36(1), pages 85-118.
  18. Saul D. Hoffman & E. Michael Foster, 2000. "AFDC Benefits and Nonmarital Births to Young Women," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 35(2), pages 376-391.
  19. Rebecca M. Blank & Patricia Ruggles, 1996. "When Do Women Use Aid to Families with Dependent Children and Food Stamps? The Dynamics of Eligibility Versus Participation," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 31(1), pages 57-89.
  20. David C. Ribar, 2005. "Transitions from Welfare and the Employment Prospects of Low-Skill Workers," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 71(3), pages 514-533, January.
  21. Ann E. Horvath-Rose & H. Elizabeth Peters, 2000. "Welfare Waivers and Non-Marital Childbearing," JCPR Working Papers 128, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
  22. repec:fth:prinin:386 is not listed on IDEAS
  23. Lerman, Robert I, 1996. "The Impact of the Changing US Family Structure on Child Poverty and Income Inequality," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 63(250), pages S119-39, Suppl..
  24. Lillard, Lee A., 1993. "Simultaneous equations for hazards : Marriage duration and fertility timing," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 56(1-2), pages 189-217, March.
  25. Williamson Hoyne, Hilary, 1997. "Does welfare play any role in female headship decisions?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(2), pages 89-117, August.
  26. Robert Moffitt & Robert Reville & Anne Winkler, 1998. "Beyond single mothers: Cohabitation and marriage in the AFDC program," Demography, Springer, vol. 35(3), pages 259-278, August.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Robert A. Moffitt, 2003. "The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program," NBER Chapters, in: Means-Tested Transfer Programs in the United States, pages 291-364 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Marianne P. Bitler & Jonah B. Gelbach & Hilary W. Hoynes & Madeline Zavodny, 2004. "The Impact of Welfare Reform on Marriage and Divorce," Working Papers 110, RAND Corporation Publications Department.
  3. Rebecca M. Blank, 2002. "Evaluating Welfare Reform in the United States," NBER Working Papers 8983, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Suzanne Ryan & Jennifer Manlove & Sandra Hofferth, 2006. "State-level Welfare Policies and Nonmarital Subsequent Childbearing," Population Research and Policy Review, Springer, vol. 25(1), pages 103-126, 02.
  5. Fitzgerald, John M. & Ribar, David C., 2003. "Transitions in Welfare Participation and Female Headship," IZA Discussion Papers 895, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. Joseph Sabia, 2008. "Blacks and the family cap: pregnancy, abortion, and spillovers," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 21(1), pages 111-134, January.
  7. Ian Walker & Yu Zhu, 2004. "Child Support and Partnership Dissolution: Evidence from the UK," Studies in Economics 0408, Department of Economics, University of Kent.
  8. Ian Walker & Yu Zhu, 2004. "Child support liability and partnership dissolution," IFS Working Papers W04/18, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  9. 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.
  10. Jonathan F. Pingle, 2003. "What if welfare had no work requirements? the age of youngest child exemption and the rise in employment of single mothers," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2003-57, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).

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