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The Child Adoption Marketplace


  • Mark Skidmore
  • Gary Anderson
  • Mark Eiswerth


In the United States, child adoption costs vary considerably, ranging from no out-of-pocket expense to US$50,000 or more. What are the causes for the variability in adoption expenses? We administered a survey to a sample of Michigan adoptive families to link adoptive parent characteristics, child characteristics, and adoption-related expenses and subsidies. We then estimated “hedonic†regressions in which adoption cost is a function of child characteristics. The analysis shows that up to 74 percent of the variation in adoption costs is explained by child characteristics. In particular, costs are lower for older children, children of African descent, and special needs children. Findings inform policies regarding the transition of children from foster care to adoptive families.

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  • Mark Skidmore & Gary Anderson & Mark Eiswerth, 2016. "The Child Adoption Marketplace," Public Finance Review, , vol. 44(2), pages 163-196, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:pubfin:v:44:y:2016:i:2:p:163-196

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    child adoption; foster care; costs; subsidies;


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