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Will Extending Medicaid to Two-Parent Families Encourage Marriage?

  • A. S. Yelowitz

Several welfare programs in the United States restrict eligibility to single-parent families. This paper asks whether eliminating this restriction for Medicaid encourages marriage. I identify Medicaid's effect through a series of health insurance reforms that were passed in the 1980s and 1990s targeting young children. These reforms were associated with an increase in the probability of marriage of 1.7 percentage points. While the expansions offered some incentives to become married, they also created other incentives to become divorced (known as the "independence effect"). After controlling for the outflows from marriage due to the independence effect, the estimated effect increases by 10 percent.

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Paper provided by University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty in its series Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers with number 1118-97.

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Handle: RePEc:wop:wispod:1118-97
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  1. T. Paul Schultz, 1994. "Marital Status and Fertility in the United States: Welfare and Labor Market Effects," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 29(2), pages 637-669.
  2. Danziger, Sheldon, et al, 1982. "Work and Welfare as Determinants of Female Poverty and Household Headship," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 97(3), pages 519-34, August.
  3. A. S. Yelowitz, . "The Medicaid notch, labor supply, and welfare participation: Evidence from eligibility expansions," Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers 1084-96, University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty.
  4. Robert Moffitt, 1994. "Welfare Effects on Female Headship with Area Effects," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 29(2), pages 621-636.
  5. Janet Currie & Jonathan Gruber, 1995. "Health Insurance Eligibility, Utilization of Medical care, and Child Health," NBER Working Papers 5052, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Moffitt, Robert, 1990. "The effect of the U.S. welfare system on marital status," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 101-124, February.
  7. Greg Duncan & Saul Hoffman, 1990. "Welfare benefits, economic opportunities, and out-of-wedlock births among black teenage girls," Demography, Springer, vol. 27(4), pages 519-535, November.
  8. Gruber, J. & Currie, J., 1994. "Saving Babies: The Efficacy and Cost of Recent Expansions of Medicaid Eligibility for Pregnant Women," Working papers 94-11, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  9. Robert Moffitt & Barbara Wolfe, 1990. "The Effect of the Medicaid Program on Welfare Participation and Labor Supply," NBER Working Papers 3286, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Moulton, Brent R., 1986. "Random group effects and the precision of regression estimates," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 385-397, August.
  11. Hilary Hoynes, 1993. "Welfare Transfers in Two-Parent Families: Labor Supply and Welfare Participation Under AFDC-UP," NBER Working Papers 4407, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. David M. Cutler & Jonathan Gruber, 1995. "Does Public Insurance Crowd Out Private Insurance?," NBER Working Papers 5082, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Rebecca M. Blank, 1989. "The Effect of Medical Need and Medicaid on AFDC Participation," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 24(1), pages 54-87.
  14. Lara Shore-Sheppard, 1996. "Stemming the Tide? The Effect of Expanding Medicaid Eligibility on Health Insurance Coverage," Working Papers 740, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  15. Moffitt, Robert, 1992. "Incentive Effects of the U.S. Welfare System: A Review," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 30(1), pages 1-61, March.
  16. Robert Plotnick, 1983. "Turnover in the AFDC Population: An Event History Analysis," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 18(1), pages 65-81.
  17. Anne E. Winkler, 1991. "The Incentive Effects of Medicaid on Women's Labor Supply," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 26(2), pages 308-337.
  18. Lyle P. Groeneveld & Nancy Brandon Tuma & Michael T. Hannan, 1980. "The Effects of Negative Income Tax Programs on Marital Dissolution," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 15(4), pages 654-674.
  19. Saul D. Hoffman & Greg J. Duncan, 1988. "A Comparison of Choice-Based Multinomial and Nested Logit Models: The Family Structure and Welfare Use Decisions of Divorced or Separated Women," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 23(4), pages 550-562.
  20. Anne E. Winkler, 1995. "Does AFDC-up encourage two-parent families?," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 14(1), pages 4-24.
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