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The Impact of Welfare Waivers on Female Headship Decisions

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  • David C Ribar
  • John M Fitgerald

Abstract

While much of the focus of recent welfare reforms has been on moving recipients from welfare to work, many reforms were also directed at affecting decisions about living arrangements, pregnancy, marriage and cohabitation. This paper focuses on women’s decisions to become or remain unmarried mothers, that is, female heads of families. We assess the impact of welfare reform waivers on those decisions while controlling for confounding local economic and social contextual conditions. We pool the 1990, 1992, and 1993 panels of the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) which span the calendar time when many states began adopting welfare waivers. For its descriptors of local labor market conditions, the project uses skill specific measures of wages and employment opportunities for counties. We estimate models for levels of female headship and proportional hazard models for entry and exit from female headship. In the hazards, we employ stratified Cox partial likelihood methods and investigate the use of state fixed effects or state stratified hazard models to control for unmeasured state influences. Based on data through 1995, we find limited evidence that workencouraging waivers had a beneficial effect by reducing female headship of families. We find little evidence that family caps, teenage coresidence requirements or termination limits will reduce the number of single-parent families.

Suggested Citation

  • David C Ribar & John M Fitgerald, 2003. "The Impact of Welfare Waivers on Female Headship Decisions," Working Papers 03-03, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  • Handle: RePEc:cen:wpaper:03-03
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Marianne P. Bitler & Jonah B. Gelbach & Hilary W. Hoynes, 2002. "The Impact of Welfare Reform on Living Arrangements," NBER Working Papers 8784, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Fitzgerald, John M. & Ribar, David C., 2003. "Transitions in Welfare Participation and Female Headship," IZA Discussion Papers 895, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. Robert A. Moffitt, 2003. "The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program," NBER Chapters,in: Means-Tested Transfer Programs in the United States, pages 291-364 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Jonathan F. Pingle, 2003. "What if welfare had no work requirements? the age of youngest child exemption and the rise in employment of single mothers," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2003-57, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    5. Marianne Bitler & Jonah Gelbach & Hilary Hoynes & Madeline Zavodny, 2004. "The impact of welfare reform on marriage and divorce," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 41(2), pages 213-236, May.
    6. Marianne Bitler & Jonah Gelbach & Hilary Hoynes & Madeline Zavodny, 2004. "The impact of welfare reform on marriage and divorce," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 41(2), pages 213-236, May.
    7. Ian Walker & Yu Zhu, 2004. "Child Support and Partnership Dissolution: Evidence from the UK," Studies in Economics 0408, School of Economics, University of Kent.
    8. Ian Walker & Yu Zhu, 2004. "Child support liability and partnership dissolution," IFS Working Papers W04/18, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
    9. Marianne P. Bitler & Jonah Gelbach & Hilary Hoynes & Madeline Zavodny, 2004. "The Impact of Welfare Reform on Marriage and Divorce," Working Papers WR-110-NICHD/NIA, RAND Corporation.
    10. Joseph Sabia, 2008. "Blacks and the family cap: pregnancy, abortion, and spillovers," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 21(1), pages 111-134, January.
    11. Ann Horvath-Rose & H. Peters & Joseph Sabia, 2008. "Capping Kids: The Family Cap and Nonmarital Childbearing," Population Research and Policy Review, Springer;Southern Demographic Association (SDA), vol. 27(2), pages 119-138, April.
    12. Rebecca M. Blank, 2002. "Evaluating Welfare Reform in the United States," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(4), pages 1105-1166, December.
    13. Suzanne Ryan & Jennifer Manlove & Sandra Hofferth, 2006. "State-level Welfare Policies and Nonmarital Subsequent Childbearing," Population Research and Policy Review, Springer;Southern Demographic Association (SDA), vol. 25(1), pages 103-126, February.

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    Keywords

    CES; economic; research; micro; data; microdata; chief; economist;

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