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Single Mothers and Work

  • Gonzalez, Libertad

    ()

    (Universitat Pompeu Fabra)

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.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 1097.

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Length: 44 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2004
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Socio-Economic Review, 2004, 2 (2), 285-313
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp1097
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  1. 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.
  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. 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.
  4. Gonzalez, Libertad, 2005. "The Determinants of the Prevalence of Single Mothers: A Cross-Country Analysis," IZA Discussion Papers 1677, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. 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 S1-32, January.
  6. Jenkins, Stephen P, 1992. "Lone Mothers' Employment and Full-Time Work Probabilities," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 102(411), pages 310-20, March.
  7. 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 116-21, May.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
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