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Why Pay Child Benefits to Mothers?

Author

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  • Frances Woolley

Abstract

The "feminist" case for paying benefits to mothers is that women suffer if they have no independent access to economic resources. The "maternalist" case for targeting benefits rests on the idea that money paid to mothers is more likely to be spent in ways that benefit children. This paper evaluates both the feminist and the maternalist case using data on how households manage their finances. The paper argues that the feminist case is relevant in a minority of households; the maternalist case has most weight when the aim of child benefits is to meet children's basic needs, for example, for food and clothing.

Suggested Citation

  • Frances Woolley, 2004. "Why Pay Child Benefits to Mothers?," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 30(1), pages 47-69, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpp:issued:v:30:y:2004:i:1:p:47-69
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Lundberg, Shelly & Pollak, Robert A, 1993. "Separate Spheres Bargaining and the Marriage Market," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(6), pages 988-1010, December.
    2. Grossbard,Shoshana A. (ed.), 2003. "Marriage and the Economy," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521891431, December.
    3. Duncan Thomas, 1990. "Intra-Household Resource Allocation: An Inferential Approach," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 25(4), pages 635-664.
    4. Chen, Zhiqi & Woolley, Frances, 2001. "A Cournot-Nash Model of Family Decision Making," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(474), pages 722-748, October.
    5. Phipps, Shelley A & Burton, Peter S, 1998. "What's Mine Is Yours? The Influence of Male and Female Incomes on Patterns of Household Expenditure," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 65(260), pages 599-613, November.
    6. Lundberg, S.J. & Pollak, R.A. & Wales, T.J., 1994. "Do Husbands and Wives Pool Their Resources? Evidence from U.K. Child Benefit," Working Papers 94-6, University of Washington, Department of Economics.
    7. Grossbard,Shoshana A. (ed.), 2003. "Marriage and the Economy," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521814546, December.
    8. Martin Dooley & Ellen Lipman & Jennifer Stewart, 2005. "Exploring the Good Mother Hypothesis: Do Child Outcomes Vary with the Mother's Share of Income?," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 31(2), pages 123-144, June.
    9. Frances Woolley, 2000. "Control over Money in Marriage," Carleton Economic Papers 00-07, Carleton University, Department of Economics, revised 2003.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Phipps, Shelley & Woolley, Frances, 2008. "Control over money and the savings decisions of Canadian households," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 37(2), pages 592-611, April.
    2. Matthias Doepke & Michèle Tertilt, 2019. "Does female empowerment promote economic development?," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 24(4), pages 309-343, December.
    3. Joseph Stiglitz & Jean-Paul Fitoussi & Martine Durand, 2018. "Beyond GDP," Working Papers hal-03393119, HAL.
    4. Joseph Stiglitz & Jean-Paul Fitoussi & Martine Durand, 2018. "Beyond GDP," Working Papers hal-03393119, HAL.
    5. Jérôme De Henau, 2008. "Asymetric power within couples: the gendered effect of children and employment on entitlement to household income," Brussels Economic Review, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles, vol. 51(2/3), pages 269-290.
    6. repec:hal:spmain:info:hdl:2441/4vsqk7docb9nmophtp29pk68cr is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Tammy Schirle, 2015. "The effect of universal child benefits on labour supply," Canadian Journal of Economics/Revue canadienne d'économique, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 48(2), pages 437-463, May.
    8. Matthias Doepke & Michèle Tertilt, 2019. "Does female empowerment promote economic development?," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 24(4), pages 309-343, December.
    9. Kelly Chen & Lars Osberg & Shelley Phipps, 2015. "Inter-generational effects of disability benefits: evidence from Canadian social assistance programs," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 28(4), pages 873-910, October.
    10. Martin Dooley & Ellen Lipman & Jennifer Stewart, 2005. "Exploring the Good Mother Hypothesis: Do Child Outcomes Vary with the Mother's Share of Income?," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 31(2), pages 123-144, June.
    11. Joseph Stiglitz & Jean-Paul Fitoussi & Martine Durand, 2018. "Beyond GDP: Measuring What Counts for Economic and Social Performance," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/4vsqk7docb9, Sciences Po.
    12. Marilyn Howard & Fran Bennett, 2020. "Payment of Universal Credit for couples in the UK: Challenges for reform from a gender perspective," International Social Security Review, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 73(4), pages 75-96, October.
    13. McLeish, Kendra N. & Oxoby, Robert J., 2007. "Gender, Affect and Intertemporal Consistency: An Experimental Approach," IZA Discussion Papers 2663, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D1 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior
    • H8 - Public Economics - - Miscellaneous Issues
    • I3 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty

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