For Richer or Poorer?
AbstractWith welfare reauthorization imminent, many conservative politicians are suggesting that although states have been successful at moving welfare mothers into paid employment, they have paid too little attention to the second goal of welfare reform - encouraging the formation of two-parent families. Using data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study, we compare the characteristics and earnings capacities of married and unmarried parents and explore the extent to which marriage to their babies' fathers would lift unwed mothers out of poverty. We find that unmarried parents are vastly different from married parents when it comes to age, education, health status and behavior, employment, and wage rates. These differences translate into important differences in earnings capacities, which, in turn, translate into differences in poverty. Proponents of marriage are overstating its benefits when they compare the median earnings or poverty rates of single mother families to those of married, two-parent families. Assuming the same family structure, labor supply, and wage schedule, our estimates, suggest that much of that difference can be attributed to factors other than marital status.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research in its series JCPR Working Papers with number 264.
Date of creation: 08 Jan 2002
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This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2002-01-22 (All new papers)
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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