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Deadbeat Dads

Author

Listed:
  • Andrew Beauchamp

    () (Boston College)

  • Geoffrey Sanzenbacher

    (Boston College)

  • Shannon Seitz

    (Analysis Group)

  • Meghan Skira

    (University of Georgia)

Abstract

Why do some men father children outside of marriage but not provide support? Why are some single women willing to have children outside of marriage when they receive little or no support from unmarried fathers? Why is this behavior especially common among blacks? To shed light on these questions, we develop and estimate a dynamic equilibrium model of marriage, employment, fertility, and child support. We consider the extent to which low earnings and a shortage of single men relative to single women among blacks can explain the prevalence of deadbeat dads and non-marital childbearing. We estimate the model by indirect inference using data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979. We simulate three distinct counterfactual policy environments: perfect child support enforcement, eliminating the black-white earnings gap, and equalizing black-white population supplies (and therefore gender ratios). We nd perfect enforcement reduces non-marital childbearing dramatically, particularly among blacks; over time it translates into many fewer couples living with children from past relationships, and therefore less deadbeat fatherhood. Eliminating the black-white earnings gap reduces the marriage rate di erence between blacks and whites by 29 to 43 percent; black child poverty rates fall by nearly 40 percent. Finally equalizing gender ratios has little effect on racial differences in marriage and fertility.

Suggested Citation

  • Andrew Beauchamp & Geoffrey Sanzenbacher & Shannon Seitz & Meghan Skira, 2014. "Deadbeat Dads," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 859, Boston College Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:boc:bocoec:859
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. 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.
    2. Martin Huber & Giovanni Mellace, 2014. "Testing exclusion restrictions and additive separability in sample selection models," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 47(1), pages 75-92, August.
    3. Linda Y. Wong, 2003. "Why so only 5.5% of Black Men Marry White Women?," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 44(3), pages 803-826, August.
    4. Peter Arcidiacono & Andrew Beauchamp & Marjorie McElroy, 2016. "Terms of endearment: An equilibrium model of sex and matching," Quantitative Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 7(1), pages 117-156, March.
    5. Michael P. Keane & Kenneth I. Wolpin, 2010. "The Role Of Labor And Marriage Markets, Preference Heterogeneity, And The Welfare System In The Life Cycle Decisions Of Black, Hispanic, And White Women," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 51(3), pages 851-892, August.
    6. Haan, Peter & Prowse, Victoria L., 2010. "The Design of Unemployment Transfers: Evidence from a Dynamic Structural Life-Cycle Model," IZA Discussion Papers 4792, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    7. Meghan M. Skira, 2015. "Dynamic Wage And Employment Effects Of Elder Parent Care," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 56, pages 63-93, February.
    8. repec:pri:cheawb:case_child_support is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Lynda Clarke & Elizabeth Cooksey & Georgia Verropoulou, 1998. "Fathers and absent fathers: Sociodemographic similarities in britain and the united states," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 35(2), pages 217-228, May.
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    11. Fernández-Villaverde, Jesús & Krueger, Dirk, 2011. "Consumption And Saving Over The Life Cycle: How Important Are Consumer Durables?," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 15(05), pages 725-770, November.
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    Cited by:

    1. Mehmet Soytas & Limor Golan & George-Levi Gayle, 2014. "What Accounts for the Racial Gap in Time Allocation and Intergenerational Transmission of Human Capital?," 2014 Meeting Papers 83, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    2. Andrew Beauchamp, 2016. "Abortion Costs, Separation, and Non-marital Childbearing," Journal of Family and Economic Issues, Springer, vol. 37(2), pages 182-196, June.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Marriage; divorce; fertility; single motherhood; non-marital childbearing; employment; dynamic discrete choice; indirect inference;

    JEL classification:

    • C51 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric Modeling - - - Model Construction and Estimation
    • C61 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling - - - Optimization Techniques; Programming Models; Dynamic Analysis
    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • D13 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Production and Intrahouse Allocation
    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply

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