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Do Family Caps Reduce Out-of-Wedlock Births? Evidence from Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, New Jersey and Virginia

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  • Wendy Tanisha Dyer
  • Robert W. Fairlie

Abstract

Using Current Population Survey (CPS) data from 1989 to 1999, we examine the impact of family cap policies, which deny incremental welfare benefits, on out-of-wedlock birth rates. We use the first five states that were granted waivers from the Department of Health and Human Services to implement family caps as "natural experiments." Specifically, we compare trends in out-of-wedlock birth rates in Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, New Jersey and Virginia to trends in states that did not implement family caps or any other waivers prior to the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA). We employ several techniques to increase the credibility of results from our "natural experiment," such as the inclusion of multiple comparison groups, controls for differential time trends, and "difference-in-difference-indifferences" estimators. Our regression estimates generally do not provide evidence that family cap policies reduce the incidence of out-of-wedlock births among single, less-educated women with children.

Suggested Citation

  • Wendy Tanisha Dyer & Robert W. Fairlie, 2003. "Do Family Caps Reduce Out-of-Wedlock Births? Evidence from Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, New Jersey and Virginia," Working Papers 877, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
  • Handle: RePEc:egc:wpaper:877
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    File URL: http://www.econ.yale.edu/growth_pdf/cdp877.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Moffitt, Robert, 1992. "Incentive Effects of the U.S. Welfare System: A Review," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 30(1), pages 1-61, March.
    2. Melissa Schettini Kearney, 2004. "Is There an Effect of Incremental Welfare Benefits on Fertility Behavior?: A Look at the Family Cap," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(2).
    3. Jeff Grogger & Stephen G. Bronars, 2001. "The Effect of Welfare Payments on the Marriage and Fertility Behavior of Unwed Mothers: Results from a Twins Experiment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(3), pages 529-545, June.
    4. Ann E. Horvath-Rose & H. Elizabeth Peters, 2000. "Welfare Waivers and Non-Marital Childbearing," JCPR Working Papers 128, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
    5. Marianne Bertrand & Esther Duflo & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2004. "How Much Should We Trust Differences-In-Differences Estimates?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(1), pages 249-275.
    6. P. K. Robins & P. Fronstin, "undated". "Welfare benefits and family-size decisions of never-married women," Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers 1022-93, University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty.
    7. Robert W. Fairlie & Rebecca A. London, 1997. "The effect of incremental benefit levels on births to AFDC recipients," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 16(4), pages 575-597.
    8. Ted Joyce & Robert Kaestner & Sanders Korenman & Stanley Henshaw, 2004. "Family Cap Provisions and Changes in Births and Abortions," NBER Working Papers 10214, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Gregory Acs, 1996. "The Impact of Welfare on Young Mothers' Subsequent Childbearing Decisions," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 31(4), pages 898-915.
    10. Elizabeth T. Powers, 1994. "The impact of AFDC on birth decisions and program participation," Working Paper 9408, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
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    Cited by:

    1. Ohinata, Asako, 2008. "Fertility Response to Financial Incentives-Evidence from the Working Families Tax Credit in the UK," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 851, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Welfare; Family Caps; Fertility;

    JEL classification:

    • I3 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty
    • J1 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics

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