The Effects of Child Support Payments on Developmental Outcomes for Elementary School-Age Children
Past research suggests that increasing the incomes of single mothers will bring integenerational benefits. However, some sources of income may be more beneficial to children than others. This paper evaluates the effects of child support payments from absent fathers on children's achievement test scores and home environments, using three methods to control for heterogeneity among families. The results provide evidence that increased child support payments may improve the academic achievement of elementary school-age children even more than income from other sources. While overall family income appears to affect levels of cognitive stimulation available in children's homes, child support does not have larger effects than other sources of income. These findings suggest that increasing the financial contributions of absent fathers through improved child support enforcement or other interventions may be a particularly beneficial income support strategy for children in single mother families.