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Work, Welfare, and Child Maltreatment


  • Christina Paxson

    (Princeton University and National Bureau of Economic Research)

  • Jane Waldfogel

    (Columbia University and London School of Economics)


We examine how child maltreatmentincluding neglect, physical and sexual abuse, and other forms of maltreatmentis affected by parental economic circumstances. Using state-level panel data on cases of maltreatment and numbers of children in foster care, we find that increases in the fractions of children with absent fathers and working mothers in a state are related to increases in many measures of maltreatment, as are increases in the share of families with two nonworking parents and those with incomes below 75% of the poverty line. Decreases in state welfare benefit levels are associated with increases in foster care placement.

Suggested Citation

  • Christina Paxson & Jane Waldfogel, 2002. "Work, Welfare, and Child Maltreatment," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 20(3), pages 435-474, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlabec:v:20:y:2002:i:3:p:435-474

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Deaton, Angus, 1985. "Panel data from time series of cross-sections," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 30(1-2), pages 109-126.
    2. J. P. Ziliak & D. N. Figlio & E. E. Davis & L. S. Connolly, "undated". "Accounting for the Decline in AFDC Caseloads: Welfare Reform or Economic Growth?," Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers 1151-97, University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty.
    3. Christopher J. Ruhm, 2000. "Are Recessions Good for Your Health?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(2), pages 617-650.
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    5. Jane Waldfogel & Christina Paxson, 1999. "Parental Resources and Child Abuse and Neglect," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(2), pages 239-244, May.
    6. repec:aph:ajpbhl:10.2105/ajph.75.1.56_0 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. R. A. Moffitt, "undated". "The Effect of Welfare on Marriage and Fertility: What Do We Know and What Do We Need to Know?," Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers 1153-97, University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty.
    8. Rebecca M. Blank, 2001. "What Causes Public Assistance Caseloads to Grow?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 36(1), pages 85-118.
    9. Mary Corcoran & Roger Gordon & Deborah Laren & Gary Solon, 1992. "The Association between Men's Economic Status and Their Family and Community Origins," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 27(4), pages 575-601.
    10. David M. Blau, 1999. "The Effect Of Income On Child Development," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 81(2), pages 261-276, May.
    11. Williamson Hoyne, Hilary, 1997. "Does welfare play any role in female headship decisions?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(2), pages 89-117, August.
    12. Hilary Williamson Hoynes, 1996. "Work, Welfare, and Family Structure: What Have We Learned?," NBER Working Papers 5644, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Sheila Ards, 1989. "Estimating Local Child Abuse," Evaluation Review, , vol. 13(5), pages 484-515, October.
    14. Kristen Shook Slack, 1999. "Does the Loss of Welfare Income Increase the Risk of Involvement with the Child Welfare System?," JCPR Working Papers 65, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
    15. Shook, Kristen, 1999. "Does the loss of welfare income increase the risk of involvement with the child welfare system?," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 21(9-10), pages 781-814.
    16. Robert A. Moffitt, 1999. "The Effect of Pre-PRWORA Waivers on AFDC Caseloads and Female Earnings, Income, and Labor Force Behavior," JCPR Working Papers 89, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
    17. Sara Markowitz & Michael Grossman, 1999. "Alcohol Regulation and Violence Towards Children," NBER Working Papers 6359, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    JEL classification:

    • I3 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty


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