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Does Child Support Enforcement Reduce Divorce Rates?: A Reexamination

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  • Bradley T. Heim

Abstract

During the 1990s, expenditures on Child Support Enforcement increased dramatically, as did the amount of money collected in these efforts. This paper examines whether there is a link between the Child Support Enforcement program and the divorce behavior of married couples with children. Previous work, notably that of Nixon (1997), found a significant negative effect of Child Support Enforcement policy on the probability of divorce. However, using a panel of state divorce rates and policy variables, I find that, contrary to this previous study, Child Support Enforcement policy has no significant impact on divorce rates.

Suggested Citation

  • Bradley T. Heim, 2003. "Does Child Support Enforcement Reduce Divorce Rates?: A Reexamination," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 38(4).
  • Handle: RePEc:uwp:jhriss:v:38:y:2003:i:4:p773-791
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    File URL: http://jhr.uwpress.org/cgi/reprint/XXXVIII/4/773
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Peters, H Elizabeth, 1986. "Marriage and Divorce: Informational Constraints and Private Contracting," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(3), pages 437-454, June.
    2. Richard B. Freeman & Jane Waldfogel, 2001. "Dunning Delinquent Dads: The Effects of Child Support Enforcement Policy on Child Support Receipt by Never Married Women," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 36(2), pages 207-225.
    3. Leora Friedberg, 1998. "Did Unilateral Divorce Raise Divorce Rates? Evidence from Panel Data," NBER Working Papers 6398, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Robins, Philip K, 1986. "Child Support, Welfare Dependency, and Poverty," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(4), pages 768-788, September.
    5. Lucia A. Nixon, 1997. "The Effect of Child Support Enforcement on Marital Dissolution," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 32(1), pages 159-181.
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    Cited by:

    1. Almudena Sevilla-Sanz & Delia Furtado and Miriam Marcen, 2010. "Does Culture Affect Divorce Decisions? Evidence from European Immigrants in the US," Economics Series Working Papers 495, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    2. 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).
    3. Maya Rossin-Slater, 2017. "Signing Up New Fathers: Do Paternity Establishment Initiatives Increase Marriage, Parental Investment, and Child Well-Being?," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 9(2), pages 93-130, April.
    4. González-Val, Rafael & Marcén, Miriam, 2012. "Breaks in the breaks: An analysis of divorce rates in Europe," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 242-255.
    5. González-Val, Rafael & Marcén, Miriam, 2010. "Unilateral Divorce vs. Child Custody and Child Support in the U.S," MPRA Paper 24695, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. Vicky Barham & Rose Anne Devlin & Jie Yang, 2006. "Public Policies and Private Decisions: The Effect of Child Support Measures on Marriage and Divorce," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 35(2), pages 441-474, June.
    7. González-Val, Rafael & Marcén, Miriam, 2012. "Unilateral divorce versus child custody and child support in the U.S," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 81(2), pages 613-643.
    8. Maureen A. Pirog & Kathleen M. Ziol-Guest, 2006. "Child support enforcement: Programs and policies, impacts and questions," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 25(4), pages 943-990.
    9. Maria Cancian & Daniel Meyer, 2014. "Testing the Economic Independence Hypothesis: The Effect of an Exogenous Increase in Child Support on Subsequent Marriage and Cohabitation," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 51(3), pages 857-880, June.
    10. Delia Furtado & Miriam Marcén & Almudena Sevilla, 2013. "Does Culture Affect Divorce? Evidence From European Immigrants in the United States," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 50(3), pages 1013-1038, June.

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