Lone Female Headship and Welfare Policy in Canada
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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