The Effect of Child Support Enforcement on Marital Dissolution
This paper examines the effect of government child support enforcement (CSE) on marital dissolution. By raising the financial obligation of the absent father to the single mother under divorce, CSE generally lowers the wife's cost of divorce. On the other hand, it raises the husband's cost. Hence, the net effect of CSE on divorce is a priori ambiguous in sign. Using Current Population Survey data matched to CSE program data, I find empirical evidence that stronger CSE reduces marital breakup. This effect is larger for couples in which the wife is more likely to be a welfare recipient under divorce.
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