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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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  2. Gordon B. Dahl & Lance Lochner, 2011. "The Impact of Family Income on Child Achievement: Evidence from the Earned Income Tax Credit," University of Western Ontario, Centre for Human Capital and Productivity (CHCP) Working Papers 20113, University of Western Ontario, Centre for Human Capital and Productivity (CHCP).
  3. 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.
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  8. Mari Rege & Ingeborg Solli, 2013. "The Impact of Paternity Leave on Fathers’ Future Earnings," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 50(6), pages 2255-2277, December.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. Dahl, Gordon B. & Loken, Katrine Vellesen & Mogstad, Magne, 2012. "Peer Effects in Program Participation," IZA Discussion Papers 6681, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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  15. 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).
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. 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).
  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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  21. Katrine V. Løken & 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.
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  24. 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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