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Does AFDC-up encourage two-parent families?

  • Anne E. Winkler

    (Assistant Professor of Economics and Public Policy Administration, Department of Economics, University of Missouri-St. Louis)

Effective October 1990, the Family Support Act (FSA) of 1988 extended the previously state-optional AFDC-Unemployed Parent (UP) program to all states. This policy was undertaken in an effort to reduce the two-parent penalty of the AFDC program, but little is actually known about UP and its influence on family structure. This study clarifies what is meant by “two-parent family” in the federal legislation and provides new evidence on AFDC's incentive effects. The empirical analysis makes use of the cross-state variation in the generosity of AFDC benefits and the presence (or absence) of AFDC-UP before the FSA of 1988. Specifically, these state-level data are appended to data from the 1987 National Survey of Families and Households (NSFH). A real advantage of the NSFH is that it allows for the identification of those truly eligible for the UP program-married and unmarried couples who have an “in-common” dependent child. The major empirical finding is that contrary to the hopes of Congress, a state's provision of a UP program is not found to encourage two-parent families.

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Article provided by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. in its journal Journal of Policy Analysis and Management.

Volume (Year): 14 (1995)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 4-24

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Handle: RePEc:wly:jpamgt:v:14:y:1995:i:1:p:4-24
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  1. Glen G. Cain, 1986. "The issues of marital stability and family composition and the income maintenance experiments," Conference Series ; [Proceedings], Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, vol. 30, pages 60-105.
  2. Hosek, James R, 1980. "Determinants of Family Participation in the AFDC-Unemployed Fathers Program," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 62(3), pages 466-70, August.
  3. G. Acs, . "The impact of AFDC on young women's childbearing decisions," Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers 1011-93, University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty.
  4. Susan Feigenbaum & Lynn Karoly & David Levy, 1988. "When votes are words not deeds: Some evidence from the Nuclear Freeze Referendum," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 58(3), pages 201-216, September.
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