IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/iza/izadps/dp9127.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Welfare Rules, Incentives, and Family Structure

Author

Listed:
  • Moffitt, Robert A.

    () (Johns Hopkins University)

  • Phelan, Brian J.

    () (DePaul University)

  • Winkler, Anne E.

    () (University of Missouri-St. Louis)

Abstract

In this study we provide a new examination of the incentive effects of welfare rules on family structure. Focusing on the AFDC and TANF programs, we first emphasize that the literature, by and large, has assumed that the rules of those programs make a key distinction between married women and cohabiting women, but this is not a correct interpretation. In fact, it is the biological relationship between the children and any male in the household that primarily determines how the family is treated. In an empirical analysis conducted over the period 1996 to 2004 that correctly matches family structure outcomes to welfare rules, we find significant effects of several welfare policies on family structure, both work-related policies and family-oriented policies, effects that are stronger than in most past work. Many of our significant effects show that these rules led to a decrease in single motherhood and an increase in biological partnering. For all of our results, our findings indicate that the impact of welfare rules crucially hinges on the biological relationship of the male partner to the children in the household.

Suggested Citation

  • Moffitt, Robert A. & Phelan, Brian J. & Winkler, Anne E., 2015. "Welfare Rules, Incentives, and Family Structure," IZA Discussion Papers 9127, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp9127
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://ftp.iza.org/dp9127.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Robert Moffitt & Robert Reville & Anne Winkler, 1998. "Beyond single mothers: Cohabitation and marriage in the AFDC program," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 35(3), pages 259-278, August.
    2. Gregory Acs & Sandi Nelson, 2004. "Changes in living arrangements during the late 1990s: Do welfare policies matter?," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 23(2), pages 273-290.
    3. DAVID M. BLAU & WILBERT van der KLAAUW, 2013. "What Determines Family Structure?," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 51(1), pages 579-604, January.
    4. Sheela Kennedy & Catherine Fitch, 2012. "Measuring Cohabitation and Family Structure in the United States: Assessing the Impact of New Data From the Current Population Survey," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 49(4), pages 1479-1498, November.
    5. McKinley L. Blackburn, 2003. "The effects of the welfare system on marital dissolution," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 16(3), pages 477-500, August.
    6. Francine D. Blau & Lawrence M. Kahn & FJane Waldfogel, 2004. "The Impact of Welfare Benefits on Single Motherhood and Headship of Young Women: Evidence from the Census," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(2).
    7. Saul D. Hoffman & E. Michael Foster, 2000. "AFDC Benefits and Nonmarital Births to Young Women," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 35(2), pages 376-391.
    8. Aaron S. Yelowitz, 1998. "Will Extending Medicaid to Two-Parent Families Encourage Marriage?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 33(4), pages 833-865.
    9. Marianne P. Bitler & Jonah B. Gelbach & Hilary W. Hoynes, 2006. "Welfare Reform and Children's Living Arrangements," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 41(1).
    10. Marianne Bitler & Jonah Gelbach & Hilary Hoynes & Madeline Zavodny, 2004. "The impact of welfare reform on marriage and divorce," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 41(2), pages 213-236, May.
    11. Marianne Bitler & Jonah Gelbach & Hilary Hoynes & Madeline Zavodny, 2004. "The impact of welfare reform on marriage and divorce," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 41(2), pages 213-236, May.
    12. Ellwood, David T., 2000. "The Impact of the Earned Income Tax Credit and Social Policy Reforms on Work, Marriage, and Living Arrangements," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 53(n. 4), pages 1063-1106, December.
    13. Rebecca M. Blank, 2002. "Evaluating Welfare Reform in the United States," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(4), pages 1105-1166, December.
    14. John Fitzgerald & David Ribar, 2004. "Welfare reform and female headship," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 41(2), pages 189-212, May.
    15. Anne E. Winkler, 1995. "Does AFDC-up encourage two-parent families?," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 14(1), pages 4-24.
    16. Ellwood, David T., 2000. "The Impact of the Earned Income Tax Credit and Social Policy Reforms on Work, Marriage, and Living Arrangements," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 53(4), pages 1063-1106, December.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Fisher, Hayley & Zhu, Anna, 2016. "The Effect of Changing Financial Incentives on Repartnering," IZA Discussion Papers 10243, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. Robert Moffitt, 2015. "The Deserving Poor, the Family, and the U.S. Welfare System," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 52(3), pages 729-749, June.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    welfare; family;

    JEL classification:

    • I3 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty
    • J1 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp9127. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Mark Fallak). General contact details of provider: http://www.iza.org .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.