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The Determinants of the Prevalence of Single Mothers: A Cross-Country Analysis

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  • González, Libertad

    (Universitat Pompeu Fabra)

Abstract

This paper examines the effect of public assistance, labor market and marriage market conditions on the prevalence of single mother families across countries and over time. A multinomial logit derived from a random utility approach is estimated using individual-level data for 14 countries. I find evidence that increases in the level of public support are significantly and positively associated with a higher incidence of both never married and divorced mothers. The results also suggest that single mothers are more prevalent when female wages are lower. Higher male earnings and employment opportunities in a woman's marriage market appear to lead to fewer never married mothers, but more divorced mothers. Higher child support or alimony payments are associated with a higher prevalence of divorced mothers.

Suggested Citation

  • González, Libertad, 2005. "The Determinants of the Prevalence of Single Mothers: A Cross-Country Analysis," IZA Discussion Papers 1677, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp1677
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    Cited by:

    1. Ian Walker & Yu Zhu, 2008. "Child Support and Educational Outcomes: Evidence from the British Household Panel Survey," Studies in Economics 0811, School of Economics, University of Kent.
    2. Gonzalez, Libertad, 2007. "The effect of benefits on single motherhood in Europe," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(3), pages 393-412, June.
    3. González, Libertad, 2004. "Single Mothers and Work," IZA Discussion Papers 1097, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    4. Ian Walker & Yu Zhu, 2007. "Do Dads matter? Or is it just their money that matters? Unpicking the effects of separation on educational outcomes by and," Working Papers 200722, Geary Institute, University College Dublin.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    single mothers; marriage; fertility; welfare benefits; marriage markets;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs

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