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Income and child maltreatment in unmarried families: evidence from the earned income tax credit

Author

Listed:
  • Lawrence M. Berger

    (University of Wisconsin-Madison, Institute for Research on Poverty and School of Social Work)

  • Sarah A. Font

    (University of Texas at Austin Population Research Center)

  • Kristen S. Slack

    (University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Social Work)

  • Jane Waldfogel

    (Columbia University School of Social Work)

Abstract

This study estimates the associations of income with both (self-reported) child protective services involvement and parenting behaviors that proxy for child abuse and neglect risk among unmarried families. Our primary strategy follows the instrumental variables approach employed by Dahl and Lochner (2012), which leverages variation between states and over time in the generosity of the total state and federal earned income tax credit for which a family is eligible to identify exogenous variation in family income. As a robustness check, we also estimate standard OLS regressions (linear probability models), reduced form OLS regressions, and OLS regressions with the inclusion of a control function (each with and without family-specific fixed effects). Our micro-level data are drawn from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study, a longitudinal birth-cohort of relatively disadvantaged urban children who have been followed from birth to age nine. Results suggest that an exogenous increase in income is associated with reductions in behaviorally approximated child neglect and CPS involvement, particularly among low-income single-mother families.

Suggested Citation

  • Lawrence M. Berger & Sarah A. Font & Kristen S. Slack & Jane Waldfogel, 2017. "Income and child maltreatment in unmarried families: evidence from the earned income tax credit," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 15(4), pages 1345-1372, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:reveho:v:15:y:2017:i:4:d:10.1007_s11150-016-9346-9
    DOI: 10.1007/s11150-016-9346-9
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    Cited by:

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    3. Nicardo S. McInnis & Katherine Michelmore & Natasha Pilkauskas, 2023. "The Intergenerational Transmission of Poverty and Public Assistance: Evidence from the Earned Income Tax Credit," NBER Working Papers 31429, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Monahan, Emma Kahle, 2020. "Income instability and child maltreatment: Exploring associations and mechanisms," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 108(C).
    5. Natasha Pilkauskas & Katherine Michelmore, 2019. "The Effect of the Earned Income Tax Credit on Housing and Living Arrangements," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 56(4), pages 1303-1326, August.
    6. Louis-Philippe Beland & Jason Huh & Dongwoo Kim, 2021. "The Effect of ACA Medicaid Expansions on Foster Care Admissions," Carleton Economic Papers 21-07, Carleton University, Department of Economics.
    7. Cai, Julie Yixia, 2021. "Earnings instability and child protection: Evidence from state administrative data," SocArXiv y825p, Center for Open Science.
    8. Anthony Bald & Joseph J. Doyle Jr. & Max Gross & Brian A. Jacob, 2022. "Economics of Foster Care," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 36(2), pages 223-246, Spring.
    9. Reiko Boyd & Abigail Williams-Butler & Katarina Ploch & Kristen Slack, 2023. "Multidimensional Aspects of Social Networks: Implications for CPS Recurrence," Social Sciences, MDPI, vol. 12(4), pages 1-20, April.
    10. Feely, Megan & Seay, Kristen D. & Loomis, Alysse M., 2019. "Harsh physical punishment as a mediator between income, re-reports and out-of-home placement in a child protective services-involved population," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 103(C), pages 70-78.
    11. Ma, Julie & Han, Yoonsun, 2023. "Heterogeneous effects of spanking on child protective services involvement in early childhood: A propensity score stratification analysis," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 148(C).
    12. Sandner, Malte & Thomsen, Stephan L., 2018. "The Effects of Universal Public Childcare Provision on Cases of Child Neglect and Abuse," IZA Discussion Papers 11687, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    13. Malte Sandner & Stephan L. Thomsen & Libertad González Luna, 2020. "Preventing child maltreatment: Beneficial side effects of public childcare provision," Economics Working Papers 1744, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
    14. Maria D. Fitzpatrick & Cassandra Benson & Samuel R. Bondurant, 2020. "Beyond Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic: The Role of Teachers and Schools in Reporting Child Maltreatment," NBER Working Papers 27033, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    15. Kim, Hyunil & Kim, Yun Young & Song, Eun-Jee & Windsor, Liliane, 2024. "Policies to reduce child poverty and child maltreatment: A scoping review and preliminary estimates of indirect effects," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 156(C).
    16. Louis‐Philippe Beland & Jason Huh & Dongwoo Kim, 2021. "The effect of Affordable Care Act Medicaid expansions on foster care admissions," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 30(11), pages 2943-2951, November.
    17. Bullinger, Lindsey Rose & Raissian, Kerri M. & Feely, Megan & Schneider, William J., 2021. "The neglected ones: Time at home during COVID-19 and child maltreatment," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 131(C).
    18. William Schneider & Lindsey Rose Bullinger & Kerri M. Raissian, 2022. "How does the minimum wage affect child maltreatment and parenting behaviors? An analysis of the mechanisms," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 20(4), pages 1119-1154, December.
    19. Sofia Amaral & Victoria Endl-Geyer & Helmut Rainer & Victoria Kaiser, 2020. "Domestic Violence and the Covid-19 Pandemic: An Overview of the Expected Impact and Possible Ways Out," ifo Schnelldienst, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 73(07), pages 52-56, July.
    20. Wan, Guowei & Wang, Miao & Chen, Sitao, 2019. "Child abuse in ethnic regions: Evidence from 2899 girls in Southwest China," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 105(C), pages 1-1.
    21. Megan Feely, 2022. "Changed for the Better: The Modifiable Maltreatment Factors Framework," Societies, MDPI, vol. 12(1), pages 1-11, February.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Child abuse and neglect; Child protective services; Child welfare; Earned income tax credit; Fragile families and child wellbeing study;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • H75 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - State and Local Government: Health, Education, and Welfare
    • H53 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Welfare Programs

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