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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
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  1. Magne Mogstad & Chiara Pronzato, 2008. "Are lone mothers responsive to policy changes? The effects of a Norwegian workfare reform on earnings, education and poverty," Working Papers 008, "Carlo F. Dondena" Centre for Research on Social Dynamics (DONDENA), Università Commerciale Luigi Bocconi.
  2. Michael Baker & Jonathan Gruber & Kevin Milligan, 2005. "Universal Childcare, Maternal Labor Supply, and Family Well-Being," NBER Working Papers 11832, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Knoef, M.G. & van Ours, J.C., 2014. "How to Stimulate Single Mothers on Welfare to Find a Job : Evidence from a Natural Experiment," Discussion Paper 2014-030, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  4. B. Dahl, Gordon & V. Løken, Katrine & Mogstad, Magne & Vea Salvanes, Kari, 2013. "What Is the Case for Paid Maternity Leave?," Working Papers in Economics 09/13, University of Bergen, Department of Economics.
  5. Robert A. Moffitt, 2003. "The Negative Income Tax and the Evolution of U.S. Welfare Policy," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 17(3), pages 119-140, Summer.
  6. Marike Knoef & Jan C. van Ours, 2014. "How to Stimulate Single Mothers on Welfare to Find a Job; Evidence from a Natural Experiment," CESifo Working Paper Series 4804, CESifo Group Munich.
  7. Gordon B. Dahl & Andreas Ravndal Kostol & Magne Mogstad, 2013. "Family Welfare Cultures," NBER Working Papers 19237, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Fernández, Raquel & Fogli, Alessandra, 2005. "Culture: An Empirical Investigation of Beliefs, Work and Fertility," CEPR Discussion Papers 5089, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. Gordon B. Dahl & Katrine V. L?ken & Magne Mogstad, 2014. "Peer Effects in Program Participation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 104(7), pages 2049-74, July.
  10. 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).
  11. Dahl, Gordon B. & Lochner, Lance John, 2012. "The Impact of Family Income on Child Achievement: Evidence from the Earned Income Tax Credit," IZA Discussion Papers 6613, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  12. Venke Furre Haaland & Mari Rege & Kjetil Telle & Mark Votruba, 2013. "The Intergenerational Transfer of the Gender Gap in Labor Force Participation," CESifo Working Paper Series 4489, CESifo Group Munich.
  13. Rebecca M. Blank, 2002. "Evaluating Welfare Reform in the United States," NBER Working Papers 8983, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. Katrine V. L�ken & Magne Mogstad & Matthew Wiswall, 2012. "What Linear Estimators Miss: The Effects of Family Income on Child Outcomes," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 4(2), pages 1-35, April.
  17. Lawrence M. Berger & Jennifer Hill & Jane Waldfogel, 2005. "Maternity leave, early maternal employment and child health and development in the US," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 115(501), pages F29-F47, 02.
  18. Mari Rege & Ingeborg Solli, 2013. "The Impact of Paternity Leave on Fathers’ Future Earnings," Demography, Springer, vol. 50(6), pages 2255-2277, December.
  19. 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.
  20. Christina Paxson & Jane Waldfogel, 2001. "Welfare Reforms, Family Resources, and Child Maltreatment," Working Papers 264, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Health and Wellbeing..
  21. Dolton, Peter & Smith, Jeffrey A., 2011. "The Impact of the UK New Deal for Lone Parents on Benefit Receipt," IZA Discussion Papers 5491, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  22. 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.
  23. Reiso, Katrine Holm, 2014. "The Effect of Welfare Reforms on Benefit Substitution," Discussion Paper Series in Economics 22/2014, Department of Economics, Norwegian School of Economics.
  24. Ghazala Naz, 2004. "The impact of cash-benefit reform on parents’ labour force participation," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 17(2), pages 369-383, 06.
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