Welfare benefits and family-size decisions of never-married women
AbstractSince the 1970s, the out-of-wedlock birthrate has been increasing rapidly in the United States and has prompted several states to propose (and in some cases, enact) legislation to deny access to higher AFDC benefits for families in which the mother gives birth while receiving AFDC. The authors investigate whether AFDC benefit levels are systematically related to the family-size decisions of never-married women. Using a Poisson Regression model, applied to Current Population Survey data from the years 1980-1988, they find that the basic benefit level positively influences family size for white and Hispanic women, but not for black women. Incremental benefits for larger families, however, do not affect family-size decisions, suggesting that reducing (or eliminating) this differential will not necessarily reduce the number of illegitimate births. The basic benefit level positively affects the family-size decision of high school dropouts, but not of high school graduates. This suggests that to discourage nonmarital births, policymakers should consider altering the AFDC benefit structure in such a way as to encourage single mothers to complete high school. However, being a high school dropout might be a proxy for some other underlying characteristic of the woman, and inducing women to complete high school who otherwise would not might have no effect whatsoever on nonmarital births.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty in its series Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers with number 1022-93.
Date of creation:
Date of revision:
Contact details of provider:
Postal: 3412 Social Science Building, 1180 Observatory Drive, Madison, WI 53706
Phone: (608) 262-6358
Fax: (608) 265-3119
Web page: http://www.ssc.wisc.edu/irp/dp/dplist.htm
More information through EDIRC
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2004-05-09 (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.:
- 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.
- Gary S. Becker, 1960. "An Economic Analysis of Fertility," NBER Chapters, in: Demographic and Economic Change in Developed Countries, pages 209-240 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Allen, Douglas W, 1993. "Welfare and the Family: The Canadian Experience," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 11(1), pages S201-23, January.
- Gonul, F., 1988. "An Empirical Analysis Of The Effects Of Afdc On Work, Childbearing, And Marital Status Decisions Of Young Women," GSIA Working Papers 88-89-36, Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper School of Business.
- G. Acs, . "The impact of AFDC on young women's childbearing decisions," Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers 1011-93, University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty.
- Jeff Grogger & Stephen G. Bronars, 1997.
"The Effect of Welfare Payments on the Marriage and Fertility Behavior of Unwed Mothers: Results from a Twins Experiment,"
NBER Working Papers
6047, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Jeff Grogger & Stephen G. Bronars, 2001. "The Effect of Welfare Payments on the Marriage and Fertility Behavior of Unwed Mothers: Results from a Twins Experiment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(3), pages 529-545, June.
- 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.
- 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).
- Melissa Schettini Kearney, 2002. "Is There an Effect of Incremental Welfare Benefits on Fertility Behavior? A Look at the Family Cap," NBER Working Papers 9093, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Wendy Tanisha Dyer & Robert W. Fairlie, 2003. "Do Family Caps Reduce Out-of-Wedlock Births? Evidence from Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, New Jersey and Virginia," Working Papers 877, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
- R. A. Moffitt, . "The Effect of Welfare on Marriage and Fertility: What Do We Know and What Do We Need to Know?," Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers 1153-97, University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Thomas Krichel).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.