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Single Mothers and Work

Author

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  • Gonzalez, Libertad

    () (Universitat Pompeu Fabra)

Abstract

Western countries differ greatly in the extent to which single mothers participate in the labor market. Using LIS data for 15 countries, I propose and estimate a simple structural model of labor supply that incorporates the main variables that influence the work decision for single mothers. The results suggest that a large part of the cross country variation in the employment rates of single mothers can be explained by their different demographic characteristics and by the variation in expected income in the in-work versus out-of-work states. Women with higher expected earnings are more likely to work. Higher in-work benefits encourage employment. Single mothers with higher income from other sources, including child support, are less likely to work. Even after demographic and income variables are controlled for, the country dummies remain significant. This indicates that other variables not explicitly incorporated in the model, such as childcare arrangements or social and cultural backgrounds, may also play a relevant role.

Suggested Citation

  • Gonzalez, Libertad, 2004. "Single Mothers and Work," IZA Discussion Papers 1097, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp1097
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. T. Paul Schultz, 1994. "Marital Status and Fertility in the United States: Welfare and Labor Market Effects," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 29(2), pages 637-669.
    2. Hotz, V Joseph & Miller, Robert A, 1988. "An Empirical Analysis of Life Cycle Fertility and Female Labor Supply," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(1), pages 91-118, January.
    3. Ermisch,John F., 1991. "Lone Parenthood," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521412438.
    4. Mincer, Jacob, 1985. "Intercountry Comparisons of Labor Force Trends and of Related Developments: An Overview," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 3(1), pages 1-32, January.
    5. Killingsworth, Mark R. & Heckman, James J., 1987. "Female labor supply: A survey," Handbook of Labor Economics,in: O. Ashenfelter & R. Layard (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 2, pages 103-204 Elsevier.
    6. Libertad González Luna, 2005. "The determinants of the prevalence of single mothers: A cross-country analysis," Economics Working Papers 876, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
    7. Maria J. Hanratty, 1994. "Social Welfare Programs for Women and Children: The United States versus France," NBER Chapters,in: Social Protection versus Economic Flexibility: Is There a Trade-Off?, pages 301-332 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. John F. Ermisch & Robert E. Wright, 1991. "Welfare Benefits and Lone Parents' Employment in Great Britain," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 26(3), pages 424-456.
    9. Dennis Sullivan & Timothy Smeeding, 1997. "Educational Attainment and Earnings Inequality in Eight Nations," LIS Working papers 164, LIS Cross-National Data Center in Luxembourg.
    10. Heckman, James J, 1993. "What Has Been Learned about Labor Supply in the Past Twenty Years?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(2), pages 116-121, May.
    11. Edward Montgomery & John Navin, 1996. "Cross-State Variation in Medicaid Programs and Female Labor Supply," NBER Working Papers 5492, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Jenkins, Stephen P, 1992. "Lone Mothers' Employment and Full-Time Work Probabilities," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 102(411), pages 310-320, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. KIZILCA, F. Kemal, 2013. "Booze and women: Gendering labor market outcomes of secular consumption patterns in a Muslim society," MPRA Paper 60134, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 01 Nov 2014.
    2. Tasnim Khan & Rana Ejaz Ali Khan, 2009. "Urban Informal Sector: How Much Women Are Struggling for Family Survival," The Pakistan Development Review, Pakistan Institute of Development Economics, vol. 48(1), pages 67-95.
    3. Libertad González, 2008. "Single Mothers, Welfare, and Incentives to Work," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 22(3), pages 447-468, September.
    4. Yin King Fok & Sung-Hee Jeon & Roger Wilkins, 2009. "Does Part-Time Employment Help or Hinder Lone Mothers Movements into Full-Time Employment?," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series wp2009n25, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.
    5. Frish, Roni & Zussman, Noam, 2008. "The effect of transfer payments on the labor supply of single mothers," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 37(2), pages 627-643, April.
    6. Libertad González Luna, 2005. "Single mothers and incentives to work: The French experience," Economics Working Papers 818, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    single mothers; labor supply;

    JEL classification:

    • J52 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - Dispute Resolution: Strikes, Arbitration, and Mediation
    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs

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