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The Effect of Welfare on Marriage and Fertility: What Do We Know and What Do We Need to Know?

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  • R. A. Moffitt

Abstract

The recent literature on the effects of welfare on marriage and fertility includes studies employing a wide variety of methodologies and data sets and covering different time periods. A majority of the studies show that welfare has a significantly negative effect on marriage or positive effect on fertility rather than none at all, and thus the current consensus is that the welfare system probably has some effect on these demographic outcomes. Considerable uncertainty surrounds this consensus because a sizable minority of the studies find no effect at all, because the magnitudes of the estimated effects vary widely, and because puzzling and unexplained differences exist across the studies by race and methodological approach. At present, and with the information provided in the studies, the source of these disparities cannot be determined. While a neutral weighing of the evidence still leads to the conclusion that the welfare system affects marriage and fertility, research needs to be conducted to resolve the conflicting findings.

Suggested Citation

  • R. A. Moffitt, "undated". "The Effect of Welfare on Marriage and Fertility: What Do We Know and What Do We Need to Know?," Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers 1153-97, University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty.
  • Handle: RePEc:wop:wispod:1153-97
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. S. McLanahan & I. Garfinkel, "undated". "The Fragile Families and Child Well-Being Study: Questions, Design, and a Few Preliminary Results," Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers 1208-00, University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty.
    2. Christina Paxson & Jane Waldfogel, 2002. "Work, Welfare, and Child Maltreatment," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 20(3), pages 435-474, July.
    3. 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.
    4. Jessica Todd & Paul Winters & Guy Stecklov, 2012. "Evaluating the impact of conditional cash transfer programs on fertility: the case of the Red de Protección Social in Nicaragua," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 25(1), pages 267-290, January.
    5. Nezih Guner & John Knowles, 2000. "Marriage, Fertility And Divorce: A Dynamic Equilibrium Analysis Of Social Policy In Canada," Computing in Economics and Finance 2000 352, Society for Computational Economics.
    6. Miller, Stephen M. & Neanidis, Kyriakos C., 2015. "Demographic transition and economic welfare: The role of in-cash and in-kind transfers," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 58(C), pages 84-92.
    7. Francine D. Blau & Lawrence M. Kahn & Jane Waldfogel, 2000. "Understanding Young Women's Marriage Decisions: The Role of Labor and Marriage Market Conditions," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 53(4), pages 624-647, July.
    8. Jagannathan, Radha, 2004. "Children's living arrangements from a social policy implementation perspective," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 26(2), pages 121-141, February.
    9. Francine D. Blau & Lawrence M. Kahn & FJane Waldfogel, 2004. "The Impact of Welfare Benefits on Single Motherhood and Headship of Young Women: Evidence from the Census," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(2).
    10. Robert Haveman & Barbara Wolfe, 2000. "Errata," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 7(3), pages 369-371, May.
    11. Wei-Yin Hu, 1999. "Marriage and Economic Incentives: Evidence from a Welfare Experiment," JCPR Working Papers 83, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
    12. R. Haveman & B. Wolfe, "undated". "Welfare to Work in the U.S.: A Model for Other Nations?," Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers 1159-98, University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty.

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