IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Labor Supply Decisions of Rural Low-Income Mothers


  • Sheila Mammen

    () (Department of Resource Economics, University of Massachusetts Amherst)

  • Daniel Lass

    () (Department of Resource Economics, University of Massachusetts Amherst)

  • Sharon B. Seiling

    () (Department of Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University)


Labor force participation is crucial to the economic well-being of low-income rural families. This study identified the factors that influence two decisions that low-income rural mothers make regarding their employment: labor force entry and number of hours supplied to employment. The sample consisted of 412 rural low-income mothers who participated in a multi-state study. The logistic regression model correctly predicted 80 percent of their work participation decisions. Employed rural mothers appeared to be older, better educated, and less likely to suffer from depression compared to those not working. Additionally, they were more likely to have an employed partner, a driver’s license, child care assistance, and Earned Income Tax Credit from the previous year. The estimated labor supply function explained 33 percent of the variation in hours worked by the 208 employed rural mothers. Higher wages, availability of health insurance, and overtime benefits predicted the number of hours that these employed mothers were willing to work.

Suggested Citation

  • Sheila Mammen & Daniel Lass & Sharon B. Seiling, 2007. "Labor Supply Decisions of Rural Low-Income Mothers," Working Papers 2007-12, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Department of Resource Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:dre:wpaper:2007-12

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Gregory Acs & Pamela Loprest, 1999. "The effect of disabilities on exits from AFDC," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 18(1), pages 28-49.
    2. Michelle M. Livermore & Rebecca S. Powers, 2006. "Employment of Unwed Mothers: The Role of Government and Social Support," Journal of Family and Economic Issues, Springer, vol. 27(3), pages 479-494, September.
    3. Ellwood, David T., 2000. "The Impact of the Earned Income Tax Credit and Social Policy Reforms on Work, Marriage, and Living Arrangements," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 53(4), pages 1063-1106, December.
    4. Jane Wheelock & Elizabeth Oughton & Susan Baines, 2003. "Getting By with a Little Help from Your Family: Toward a Policy-Relevant Model of the Household," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 9(1), pages 19-45.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    Rural Low-income Mothers; Labor Force Participation; Women’s Labor Supply; Welfare Reform;

    JEL classification:

    • D13 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Production and Intrahouse Allocation
    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • R29 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Other

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:dre:wpaper:2007-12. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Eileen Keegan). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.