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Welfare Waivers and Non-Marital Childbearing

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  • Ann E. Horvath-Rose
  • H. Elizabeth Peters

Abstract

In the late 1980's states began applying to the US Department of Health and Human Services for waivers granting permission to implement state level welfare policies that differed from existing federal policy. An explicit goal of state policymakers was to use policy tools to alter incentives in order to influence unmarried women's fertility decisions. This paper estimates the extent to which welfare waivers may have played a role in lowering the ratio of non-marital births and how this effect differed across age groups and races. The analysis uses aggregate state level data for the years 1984 through 1996 and estimates fixed-effect regression models. Waivers at each level of the process of request, approval, and implementation are found to be consistently negatively correlated with non-marital birth ratios. The family cap waiver is shown to be a useful policy tool for lowering non-marital fertility.

Suggested Citation

  • Ann E. Horvath-Rose & H. Elizabeth Peters, 2000. "Welfare Waivers and Non-Marital Childbearing," JCPR Working Papers 128, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:wop:jopovw:128
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Gregory Acs & Sandi Nelson, 2004. "Changes in living arrangements during the late 1990s: Do welfare policies matter?," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 23(2), pages 273-290.
    2. Marianne P. Bitler & Jonah B. Gelbach & Hilary W. Hoynes, 2002. "The Impact of Welfare Reform on Living Arrangements," NBER Working Papers 8784, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Chien-Chung Huang, 2001. "The Impact of Child Support Enforcement on Nonmarital and Marital Births: Does It Differ by Racial and Age Groups?," JCPR Working Papers 246, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
    4. Christina Paxson & Jane Waldfogel, 2003. "Welfare reforms, family resources, and child maltreatment," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 22(1), pages 85-113.
    5. Joyce Ted & Kaestner Robert & Korenman Sanders, 2003. "Welfare Reform and Non-Marital Fertility in the 1990s: Evidence from Birth Records," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 3(1), pages 1-36, December.
    6. Rebecca M. Blank, 2002. "Evaluating Welfare Reform in the United States," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(4), pages 1105-1166, December.
    7. Fitzgerald, John M. & Ribar, David C., 2003. "Transitions in Welfare Participation and Female Headship," IZA Discussion Papers 895, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    8. Melissa Schettini Kearney, 2004. "Is There an Effect of Incremental Welfare Benefits on Fertility Behavior?: A Look at the Family Cap," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(2).
    9. Robert Kaestner & Sanders Korenman & June O'Neill, 2003. "Has welfare reform changed teenage behaviors?," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 22(2), pages 225-248.
    10. Wolfe, Barbara & Wilson, Kathryn & Haveman, Robert, 2001. "The role of economic incentives in teenage nonmarital childbearing choices," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 81(3), pages 473-511, September.
    11. Phillip B. Levine, 2001. "The Sexual Activity and Birth-Control Use of American Teenagers," NBER Chapters,in: Risky Behavior among Youths: An Economic Analysis, pages 167-218 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. John M. Fitzgerald & David Ribar, 2001. "The Impact of Welfare Waivers on Female Headship Decisions," JCPR Working Papers 247, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
    13. Ann Horvath-Rose & H. Peters & Joseph Sabia, 2008. "Capping Kids: The Family Cap and Nonmarital Childbearing," Population Research and Policy Review, Springer;Southern Demographic Association (SDA), vol. 27(2), pages 119-138, April.
    14. Marianne P. Bitler & Jonah B. Gelbach & Hilary W. Hoynes, 2006. "Welfare Reform and Children's Living Arrangements," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 41(1).
    15. Ohinata, Asako, 2008. "Fertility Response to Financial Incentives-Evidence from the Working Families Tax Credit in the UK," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 851, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
    16. Chris Herbst, 2011. "The Impact of the Earned Income Tax Credit on Marriage and Divorce: Evidence from Flow Data," Population Research and Policy Review, Springer;Southern Demographic Association (SDA), vol. 30(1), pages 101-128, February.
    17. Wendy Tanisha Dyer & Robert W. Fairlie, 2003. "Do Family Caps Reduce Out-of-Wedlock Births? Evidence from Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, New Jersey and Virginia," Working Papers 877, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
    18. Phillip B. Levine, 2002. "The Impact of Social Policy and Economic Activity Throughout the Fertility Decision Tree," NBER Working Papers 9021, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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