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Single Mothers and their children: Evaluating a work-encouraging welfare reform

Using rich administrative data from Norway, we evaluate a 1998 work-encouraging reform targeted at single parents. We especially focus on educational performances for children of the involved single mothers. For all children of single mothers, the effect on school grades at completion of junior high school at age 16 is near zero and insignificant. If one concentrates on younger single mothers, those most likely to be affected by the reform, the grade point average of their children drops significantly by 7% of a standard deviation. We isolate groups of mothers who are affected by the reform either primarily by having less time at home, or by reduced income. The children of both groups of mothers experience drops in school grades. We conclude that the mechanisms behind these grade-drops must involve both reduced available parental time and reduced income.

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Paper provided by University of Bergen, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers in Economics with number 04/14.

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Length: 41 pages
Date of creation: 03 Jul 2014
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hhs:bergec:2014_004
Contact details of provider: Postal:
Institutt for økonomi, Universitetet i Bergen, Postboks 7802, 5020 Bergen, Norway

Phone: (+47)55589200
Fax: (+47)55589210
Web page: http://www.uib.no/econ/en
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  1. Amalia R. Miller & Lei Zhang, 2009. "The effects of welfare reform on the academic performance of children in low-income households," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 28(4), pages 577-599.
  2. Knoef, Marike & van Ours, Jan C., 2014. "How to Stimulate Single Mothers on Welfare to Find a Job: Evidence from a Natural Experiment," IZA Discussion Papers 8188, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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  12. Magne Mogstad & Chiara Pronzato, 2012. "Are Lone Mothers Responsive to Policy Changes? Evidence from a Workfare Reform in a Generous Welfare State," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 114(4), pages 1129-1159, December.
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  14. David Card & Rebecca M. Blank, 2008. "The Changing Incidence and Severity of Poverty Spells among Female-Headed Families," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(2), pages 387-91, May.
  15. Christina Paxson & Jane Waldfogel, 2003. "Welfare reforms, family resources, and child maltreatment," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 22(1), pages 85-113.
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  17. Loken, Katrine Vellesen & Mogstad, Magne & Wiswall, Matthew, 2010. "What Linear Estimators Miss: Re-Examining the Effects of Family Income on Child Outcomes," IZA Discussion Papers 4971, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  18. Neeraj Kaushal & Qin Gao & Jane Waldfogel, 2006. "Welfare Reform and Family Expenditures: How are Single Mothers Adapting to the New Welfare and Work Regime?," NBER Working Papers 12624, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Dunifon, Rachel & Kalil, Ariel & Danziger, Sandra K., 2003. "Maternal Work Behavior under Welfare Reform: How does the Transition from Welfare to Work Affect Child Development?," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 25(1-2), pages 55-82.
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