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Can the Family Support Act Put Some Life Back into Deadbeat Dads?: An Analysis of Child-Support Guidelines, Award Rates, and Levels

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  • Laura M. Argys
  • H. Elizabeth Peters
  • Donald M. Waldman

Abstract

Federal legislation mandates the use of child-support guidelines to improve adequacy and horizontal equity of child-support awards. Using state guideline formulas, and a sample of women drawn from the NLSY we compare the effects of guidelines on children born out of wedlock versus children whose parents divorced or separated. Our analyses indicate that guidelines increase the probability of child-support awards for children born out of wedlock. Guidelines also reduce variation in awards by eliminating outliers, not by equalizing awards across the entire distribution. Awards for high-income divorced or separated fathers fall substantially below the guideline amount.

Suggested Citation

  • Laura M. Argys & H. Elizabeth Peters & Donald M. Waldman, 2001. "Can the Family Support Act Put Some Life Back into Deadbeat Dads?: An Analysis of Child-Support Guidelines, Award Rates, and Levels," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 36(2), pages 226-252.
  • Handle: RePEc:uwp:jhriss:v:36:y:2001:i:2:p:226-252
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    Cited by:

    1. Kanako Ishida, 2010. "The Role of Ethnicity in Father Absence and Children’s School Enrollment in Guatemala," Population Research and Policy Review, Springer;Southern Demographic Association (SDA), vol. 29(4), pages 569-591, August.
    2. Chien-Chung Huang, 2001. "The Impact of Child Support Enforcement on Nonmarital and Marital Births: Does It Differ by Racial and Age Groups?," JCPR Working Papers 246, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
    3. Irwin Garfinkel & Daniel S. Gaylin & Chien-Chung Huang & Sara McLanahan, 2002. "The Roles of Child Support Enforcement and Welfare In Nonmarital Childbearing," JCPR Working Papers 266, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
    4. Anne C. Case & I-Fen Lin & Sara S. McLanahan, 2003. "Explaining Trends In Child Support: Economic, Demographic, And Policy Effects," Working Papers 259, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Health and Wellbeing..
    5. Anne Case & I-Fen Lin & Sara Mclanahan, 2003. "Explaining trends in child support: Economic, demographic, and policy effects," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 40(1), pages 171-189, February.
    6. Brandeanna Allen & John Nunley & Alan Seals, 2011. "The Effect of Joint-Child-Custody Legislation on the Child-Support Receipt of Single Mothers," Journal of Family and Economic Issues, Springer, vol. 32(1), pages 124-139, March.
    7. Anna Aizer & ASara McLanahan, 2006. "The Impact of Child Support Enforcement on Fertility, Parental Investments, and Child Well-Being," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 41(1).
    8. Alexis Yamokoski & Lisa Keister, 2006. "The Wealth Of Single Women: Marital Status And Parenthood In The Asset Accumulation Of Young Baby Boomers In The United States," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(1-2), pages 167-194.
    9. Nan Astone & Jacinda Dariotis & Freya Sonenstein & Joseph Pleck & Kathryn Hynes, 2010. "Men’s Work Efforts and the Transition to Fatherhood," Journal of Family and Economic Issues, Springer, vol. 31(1), pages 3-13, March.
    10. H. Elizabeth Peters & Laura M. Argys, 2001. "Interactions between Unmarried Fathers and Their Children: The Role of Paternity Establishment and Child-Support Policies," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, pages 125-129.
    11. Dunifon, Rachel & Hynes, Kathryn & Peters, H. Elizabeth, 2006. "Welfare reform and child well-being," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 28(11), pages 1273-1292, November.
    12. Amy Farmer & Jill Tiefenthaler, 2003. "Strategic Bargaining Over Child Support and Visitation," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 1(3), pages 205-218, September.

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