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Unintended consequences of welfare reform for children with single parents: a theoretical analysis

  • Francesconi, Marco
  • Rainer, Helmut
  • Klaauw,

This paper formulates a model to examine the effects of changes in tax-benefit policy on the behavior of divorced parents and the well-being of children in single-parent households. Noncustodial parents choose the level of a child support payment to transfer to custodians. These, in turn, decide over child good expenditures and the allocation of time between market work and parenting. Our main finding shows that welfare policies that subsidize childcare expenditures or reduce withdrawal rates, which are most certainly intended to improve the conditions of working single parents and their children, could actually have the reverse effect.

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Paper provided by University of Munich, Department of Economics in its series Munich Reprints in Economics with number 20333.

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Date of creation: 2013
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in Review of Economics of the Household (2013): pp. 1-25
Handle: RePEc:lmu:muenar:20333
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  1. Michael Baker & Jonathan Gruber & Kevin Milligan, 2005. "Universal Childcare, Maternal Labor Supply, and Family Well-Being," NBER Working Papers 11832, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Ermisch, John & Pronzato, Chiara D., 2006. "Intra-Household Allocation of Resources: Inferences from Non-Resident Fathers’ Child Support Payments," IZA Discussion Papers 2498, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Del Boca, Daniela & Flinn, Christopher J, 1995. "Rationalizing Child-Support Decisions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(5), pages 1241-62, December.
  4. V. Joseph Hotz, 2003. "The Earned Income Tax Credit," NBER Chapters, in: Means-Tested Transfer Programs in the United States, pages 141-198 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Marco Francesconi & Helmut Rainer & Wilbert van der Klaauw, 2007. "The Effects of In-Work Benefit Reform in Britain on Couples: Theory and Evidence," CRIEFF Discussion Papers 0709, Centre for Research into Industry, Enterprise, Finance and the Firm.
  6. Richard Blundell & Mike Brewer & Marco Francesconi, 2008. "Job Changes and Hours Changes: Understanding the Path of Labor Supply Adjustment," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 26(3), pages 421-453, 07.
  7. Ian Walker & Yu Zhu, 2006. "Child Support and Partnership Dissolution," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 116(510), pages C93-C109, 03.
  8. Flinn, Christopher J, 2000. "Modes of Interaction between Divorced Parents," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 41(3), pages 545-78, August.
  9. Jeffrey Grogger & Lynn Karoly, 2007. "The Effects of Work-Conditioned Transfers on Marriage and Child Well-Being: A Review," NBER Working Papers 13485, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Shelly Lundberg & Robert Pollak, 2003. "Efficiency in Marriage," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 1(3), pages 153-167, September.
  11. Yoram Weiss & Robert J. Willis, . "Transfers Among Divorced Couples: Evidence and Interpretation," University of Chicago - Population Research Center 90-4a, Chicago - Population Research Center.
  12. Liu, Haiyong & Mroz, Thomas A. & van der Klaauw, Wilbert, 2010. "Maternal employment, migration, and child development," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 156(1), pages 212-228, May.
  13. Weiss, Yoram & Willis, Robert J, 1985. "Children as Collective Goods and Divorce Settlements," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 3(3), pages 268-92, July.
  14. Marianne P. Bitler & Jonah B. Gelbach & Hilary W. Hoynes, 2004. "Welfare Reform and Health," Working Papers 102-1, RAND Corporation Publications Department.
  15. Samara Gunter, 2013. "Effects of child support pass-through and disregard policies on in-kind child support," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 11(2), pages 193-209, June.
  16. Mike Brewer & Marco Francesconi & Paul Gregg & Jeffrey Grogger, 2009. "Feature: In-work Benefit Reform in a Cross-National Perspective - Introduction," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 119(535), pages F1-F14, 02.
  17. Eissa, Nada & Hoynes, Hilary Williamson, 2004. "Taxes and the labor market participation of married couples: the earned income tax credit," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(9-10), pages 1931-1958, August.
  18. Marianne E. Page & Ann Huff Stevens, 2004. "The Economic Consequences of Absent Parents," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(1).
  19. Marco Francesconi & Wilbert van der Klaauw, 2007. "The Socioeconomic Consequences of "In-Work" Benefit Reform for British Lone Mothers," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 42(1).
  20. Konrad, Kai A & Lommerud, Kjell Erik, 1995. " Family Policy with Non-cooperative Families," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 97(4), pages 581-601, December.
  21. Martin Halla, 2013. "The Effect Of Joint Custody On Family Outcomes," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 11(2), pages 278-315, 04.
  22. Bernal, Raquel & Keane, Michael P., 2010. "Quasi-structural estimation of a model of childcare choices and child cognitive ability production," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 156(1), pages 164-189, May.
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