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Welfare and child support: Complements, not substitutes

Author

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  • Maria Cancian

    (University of Wisconsin-Madison)

  • Daniel R. Meyer

    (University of Wisconsin-Madison)

  • Emma Caspar

    (University of Wisconsin-Madison)

Abstract

In most states, child support paid on behalf of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) participants is used to offset TANF and child support administrative expenditures; this policy primarily benefits taxpayers. In contrast, Wisconsin allowed most custodial parents to keep all support paid on their behalf. This policy, which treats welfare and child support as complements, was evaluated through an experimental design. This paper reports the key results of the experimental evaluation, using state administrative data to examine the effects on child support outcomes and governmental cost. We find that when custodial mothers keep all child support paid on their behalf, paternity establishment occurs more quickly, noncustodial fathers are more likely to pay support, and custodial families receive more support. These outcomes are achieved at no significant governmental cost. © 2008 by the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management.

Suggested Citation

  • Maria Cancian & Daniel R. Meyer & Emma Caspar, 2008. "Welfare and child support: Complements, not substitutes," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 27(2), pages 354-375.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:jpamgt:v:27:y:2008:i:2:p:354-375
    DOI: 10.1002/pam.20328
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1002/pam.20328
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. John W. Graham & Andrea H. Beller, 1989. "The Effect of Child Support Payments on the Labor Supply of Female Family Heads: An Econometric Analysis," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 24(4), pages 664-688.
    2. Maureen R Waller & Robert Plotnick, 2001. "Effective child support policy for low-income families: evidence from street level research," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 20(1), pages 89-110.
    3. 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.
    4. Irwin Garfinkel & Sara Mclanahan & Daniel Meyer & Judith Seltzer, 1998. "Fathers under Fire: The Revolution in Child Support Enforcement in the USA (This CASEpaper is a summary of the book by the same title and authors, published by the Russel Sage Foundation, 1998)," CASE Papers case14, Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion, LSE.
    5. Cassetty, Judith H. & Hutson, Royce, 2005. "Effectiveness of federal incentives in shaping child support enforcement outcomes," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 27(3), pages 271-289, March.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Cancian, Maria & Han, Eunhee & Noyes, Jennifer L., 2014. "From multiple program participation to disconnection: Changing trajectories of TANF and SNAP beneficiaries in Wisconsin," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 91-102.
    2. Maria Cancian & Yiyoon Chung & Daniel R. Meyer, 2016. "Fathers’ Imprisonment and Mothers’ Multiple-Partner Fertility," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 53(6), pages 2045-2074, December.
    3. Samara Gunter, 2013. "Effects of child support pass-through and disregard policies on in-kind child support," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 11(2), pages 193-209, June.
    4. Kwon, Hyeok Chang & Meyer, Daniel R., 2011. "How do economic downturns affect welfare leavers? A comparison of two cohorts," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 33(5), pages 588-597, May.
    5. Huang, Chien-Chung & Han, Ke-Qing, 2012. "Child support enforcement in the United States: Has policy made a difference?," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 34(4), pages 622-627.
    6. Jennifer Roff, 2010. "Welfare, Child Support, and Strategic Behavior: Do High Orders and Low Disregards Discourage Child Support Awards?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 45(1).
    7. repec:mpr:mprres:6557 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. repec:rfa:journl:v:5:y:2017:i:12:p:20-31 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Cancian, Maria & Cook, Steven T. & Seki, Mai & Wimer, Lynn, 2017. "Making parents pay: The unintended consequences of charging parents for foster care," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 72(C), pages 100-110.
    10. Kim, Yeongmin & Cancian, Maria & Meyer, Daniel R., 2015. "Patterns of child support debt accumulation," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 87-94.
    11. 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.

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