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The Effect of Joint-Child-Custody Legislation on the Child-Support Receipt of Single Mothers

Listed author(s):
  • Allen, Brandeanna
  • Nunley, John
  • Seals, Alan

Due to the preponderance of single mothers on public assistance, delinquent child support has been a contentious political issue in the U.S. for over 30 years. We examine whether joint-child-custody reform affects the child- support receipt of single mothers. We use variation in the timing of joint-custody reforms across states to identify the effect of joint custody on the child-support receipt of single mothers. Joint-custody enactment raises the probability of receiving child support for all single mothers by six percent. However, the effect on all single mothers is driven by the effect on divorced mothers since separated and never-married mothers are unaffected by joint-custody reform. We conclude joint-custody reform confers the most benefit on divorced mothers and their children, particularly those who do not receive public assistance.

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File URL: https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/16316/1/MPRA_paper_16316.pdf
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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 16316.

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Date of creation: Nov 2008
Date of revision: Mar 2009
Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:16316
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  1. Jennifer Roff, 2008. "A Stackelberg Model Of Child Support And Welfare," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 49(2), pages 515-546, 05.
  2. Charles R. Nelson & Richard Startz, 1988. "The Distribution of the Instrumental Variables Estimator and Its t-RatioWhen the Instrument is a Poor One," NBER Technical Working Papers 0069, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Nelson, C. & Startz, R., 1988. "Some Furthere Results On The Exact Small Sample Properties Of The Instrumental Variable Estimator," Working Papers 88-06, University of Washington, Department of Economics.
  4. Douglas Staiger & James H. Stock, 1994. "Instrumental Variables Regression with Weak Instruments," NBER Technical Working Papers 0151, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Marianne Bertrand & Esther Duflo & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2002. "How Much Should We Trust Differences-in-Differences Estimates?," NBER Working Papers 8841, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Robert I. Lerman, 1993. "Policy Watch: Child Support Policies," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 7(1), pages 171-182, Winter.
  7. Richard B. Freeman & Jane Waldfogel, 2001. "Dunning Delinquent Dads: The Effects of Child Support Enforcement Policy on Child Support Receipt by Never Married Women," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 36(2), pages 207-225.
  8. Wolfers, Justin, 2003. "Did Unilateral Divorce Laws Raise Divorce Rates? A Reconciliation and New Results," Research Papers 1819, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
  9. Maria Cancian & Daniel Meyer, 1998. "Who gets custody?," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 35(2), pages 147-157, May.
  10. H. Elizabeth Peters & Laura M. Argys, 2001. "Interactions between Unmarried Fathers and Their Children: The Role of Paternity Establishment and Child-Support Policies," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 125-129, May.
  11. Urvi Neelakantan, 2009. "The impact of changes in child support policy," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 22(3), pages 641-663, July.
  12. Elaine Sorensen & Ariel Hill, 2004. "Single Mothers and Their Child-Support Receipt: How Well Is Child-Support Enforcement Doing?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(1).
  13. Del Boca, Daniela & Ribero, Rocio, 1998. "Transfers in non-intact households," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 9(4), pages 469-478, December.
  14. Steven Garasky & Susan Stewart, 2007. "Evidence of the Effectiveness of Child Support and Visitation: Examining Food Insecurity among Children with Nonresident Fathers," Journal of Family and Economic Issues, Springer, vol. 28(1), pages 105-121, March.
  15. Laura M. Argys & H. Elizabeth Peters & Donald M. Waldman, 2001. "Can the Family Support Act Put Some Life Back into Deadbeat Dads?: An Analysis of Child-Support Guidelines, Award Rates, and Levels," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 36(2), pages 226-252.
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