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Marriage, Labor Supply and the Dynamics of the Social Safety Net

Author

Listed:
  • Hamish Low
  • Costas Meghir
  • Luigi Pistaferri
  • Alessandra Voena

Abstract

The 1996 US welfare reform introduced limits on years of welfare receipt. We show that this reduced program participation, raised employment for single mothers, and reduced divorce. A limited commitment, lifecycle model of labor supply, marriage and divorce, estimated on pre-reform data, replicates these effects. A large part of the responses occur in anticipation of benefit exhaustion, impacting primarily women with low potential earnings. The reform reduces lifetime utility of women, even allowing for the government savings, but has negligible effects on men. The expectation of marriage attenuates the losses for women and an increased probability of single-motherhood raises them.

Suggested Citation

  • Hamish Low & Costas Meghir & Luigi Pistaferri & Alessandra Voena, 2018. "Marriage, Labor Supply and the Dynamics of the Social Safety Net," NBER Working Papers 24356, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:24356
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H2 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue
    • H31 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - Household
    • H53 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Welfare Programs
    • J08 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General - - - Labor Economics Policies
    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
    • J18 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Public Policy
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply

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