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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. 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.
    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. 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.
    5. Lundberg, S.J. & Pollak, R.A. & Wales, T.J., 1994. "Do Husbands and Wives Pool Their Resources? Evidence from U.K. Child Benefit," Discussion Papers in Economics at the University of Washington 94-6, Department of Economics at the University of Washington.
    6. 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.
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    Cited by:

    1. Matthias Doepke & Michèle Tertilt, 2010. "Does Female Empowerment Promote Economic Development?," Working Papers id:3189, eSocialSciences.
    2. McLeish, Kendra N. & Oxoby, Robert J., 2007. "Gender, Affect and Intertemporal Consistency: An Experimental Approach," IZA Discussion Papers 2663, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. 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.
    4. 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.
    5. 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.
    6. 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.

    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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