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Lone Female Headship and Welfare Policy in Canada

  • Pierre Lefebvre

    (Université du Québec à Montréal)

  • Phillip Merrigan

    (Université du Québec à Montréal)

  • Martin Dooley

    (McMaster University)

The principal qualifying condition for welfare in Canada, unlike the US, is financial need - there are no demographic criteria. We use a time-series of annual, national cross-sections for the period 1981 through 1993 to estimate a model of lone-female headship. Our findings do not support the hypothesis that welfare benefit levels for one-parent and two-parent families are important determinants of the likelihood that a Canadian woman is a lone mother. In all models with provincial fixed effects, the coefficients for welfare benefits are small, statistically insignificant and often of the unexpected sign. We do find that the probability that a woman is a lone mother is generally associated in the expected fashion with her earnings capacity and the earnings capacity of her potential male partner, and with her age and schooling.

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Paper provided by McMaster University in its series Canadian International Labour Network Working Papers with number 08.

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Length: 40 pages
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Handle: RePEc:mcm:cilnwp:08
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  1. David Card, 1992. "A Comparative Analysis of Unemployment in Canada and the United States," Working Papers 677, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  2. Martin D. Dooley, . "The Evolution of Welfare Participation Among Canadian Lone Mothers From 1973 ­ 1991," Canadian International Labour Network Working Papers 17, McMaster University.
  3. Williamson Hoyne, Hilary, 1997. "Does welfare play any role in female headship decisions?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(2), pages 89-117, August.
  4. Martin D. Dooley, 1994. "The Converging Market Work Patterns of Married Mothers and Lone Mothers in Canada," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 29(2), pages 600-620.
  5. Pierre Lefebvre & Philip Merrigan, 1997. "Social Assistance and Conjugal Union Dissolution in Canada: A Dynamic Analysis," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 30(1), pages 112-34, February.
  6. Allen, Douglas W, 1993. "Welfare and the Family: The Canadian Experience," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 11(1), pages S201-23, January.
  7. Gary S. Becker, 1981. "A Treatise on the Family," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number beck81-1, July.
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