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Child support wage withholding and father–child contact: parental bargaining and salience effects

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  • Samara R. Gunter

    (Colby College)

Abstract

Past research on child support finds that father–child contact increases as support payments increase. Enforcement policies such as wage withholding also may affect father–child contact even when the amount of support paid is not affected if they change bargaining power between parents or the salience of fathers’ child support obligations. I develop a model of the salience of child support obligations which predicts that introduction of automatic withholding will reduce contact between noncustodial parents and children independent of payment amount. I then examine whether paying child support via wage withholding affects fathers’ frequency of contact with their children and their provision of in-kind support using instrumental variables and bounded OLS techniques for selection on unobservables. Withholding appears to decrease father–child contact. Withholding effects do not occur when payments are made to government agencies or courts but are present when payments go directly to the mother, consistent with bargaining models. More frequent payment schedules are associated with more contact, consistent with salience effects.

Suggested Citation

  • Samara R. Gunter, 2018. "Child support wage withholding and father–child contact: parental bargaining and salience effects," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 16(2), pages 427-452, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:reveho:v:16:y:2018:i:2:d:10.1007_s11150-016-9330-4
    DOI: 10.1007/s11150-016-9330-4
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    Cited by:

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Child support; Father–child contact; Payment method; Salience; Bargaining;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D0 - Microeconomics - - General
    • H7 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations
    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs
    • J1 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics

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