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Drug Use, Culture, and Welfare Incentives: Correlates of Family Structure and Out-of-Wedlock Birth

  • Robert Kaestner

    (Baruch College
    NBER)

In this paper, I test whether a variety of social and economic factors are significantly related to an individuals family structure. I focus on the relationship between one particular type of family structure, a never married parent, and three variables: drug use, the generosity of welfare payments, and local area economic conditions. Two types of empirical analyses are used to measure the relationships of interest: one purely descriptive cross sectional analysis, and one longitudinal analysis. The results of both analyses suggest that drug use, particularly marijuana use, is significantly related to family structure and out-of-wedlock birth. Individuals who report use of drugs are more likely to be unmarried than married, and are more likely to be unmarried with children than married. The results also indicate that few other variables were significantly related to family structure in a consistent fashion. For example, the generosity of welfare benefits was seldom significantly related to family structure and out-of-wedlock birth. Similarly, county level characteristics such as the unemployment rate, crime rate and proportion of families headed by females were rarely significant.

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File URL: http://college.holycross.edu/RePEc/eej/Archive/Volume24/V24N4P395_416.pdf
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Article provided by Eastern Economic Association in its journal Eastern Economic Journal.

Volume (Year): 24 (1998)
Issue (Month): 4 (Fall)
Pages: 395-416

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Handle: RePEc:eej:eeconj:v:24:y:1998:i:4:p:395-416
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