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An Economic Analysis of Co-Parenting Choices: Single Parent, Visiting Father, Cohabitation, Marriage

  • Ronald Mincy

    (Columbia University)

  • Shoshana Grossbard

    (San Diego State University)

  • Chien-Chung Huang

    (Rutgers University)

This paper sheds light on the determinants of choice between four co- parenting arrangements: father absence, father’s non-residential visitations, cohabitation, and marriage. In our theoretical framework, we use an adaptation of Becker’s Demand & Supply (D&S) model of marriage and a hierarchy of co-parenting arrangements--ranked in terms of degree of fathers’ involvement in the lives of mother or child--as an observable price measure for women’s work as mothers. We predict effects on co-parenting choice of factors such as welfare benefits, sex ratios, income, black versus white, or education, and black/white differences in these effects. We test our predictions with data from the Fragile Families and Child-Wellbeing Survey. Our findings include (1) the larger the grant amount in the state where the mother resides, the more it is likely that fathers will have some contact with their children, and the more it is likely that fathers will cohabit with the mothers; (2) fathers who have more children with other women are less likely to have contact with a given woman’s children, but this discouraging effect of men’s other children is smaller for blacks than for whites; and (3) employment in the last year reduces the likelihood that a white mother is married to her child’s father, while increasing that likelihood among black mothers.

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Paper provided by EconWPA in its series Labor and Demography with number 0505004.

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Length: 45 pages
Date of creation: 05 May 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpla:0505004
Note: Type of Document - doc; pages: 45
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://econwpa.repec.org

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  1. repec:mpr:mprres:3443 is not listed on IDEAS
  2. Arthur H. Goldsmith & Darrick Hamilton & William Darity, Jr, 2007. "From Dark to Light: Skin Color and Wages Among African-Americans," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 42(4).
  3. Grossbard-Shechtman, Shoshana Amyra, 1984. "A Theory of Allocation of Time in Markets for Labour and Marriage," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 94(376), pages 863-82, December.
  4. Manser, Marilyn & Brown, Murray, 1980. "Marriage and Household Decision-Making: A Bargaining Analysis," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 21(1), pages 31-44, February.
  5. Grossbard-Shechtman, Shoshana Amyra & Neuman, Shoshana, 1988. "Women's Labor Supply and Marital Choice," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(6), pages 1294-1302, December.
  6. McElroy, Marjorie B & Horney, Mary Jean, 1981. "Nash-Bargained Household Decisions: Toward a Generalization of the Theory of Demand," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 22(2), pages 333-49, June.
  7. Akerlof, George A & Yellen, Janet L & Katz, Michael L, 1996. "An Analysis of Out-of-Wedlock Childbearing in the United States," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 111(2), pages 277-317, May.
  8. Lundberg, S. & Pollak, R.A., 1991. "Separate Spheres Bargaining and the Marriage Market," Working Papers 91-08, University of Washington, Department of Economics.
  9. R. A. Moffitt & R. Reville & A. E. Winkler, . "Beyond single mothers: Cohabition, marriage, and the U.S. welfare system," Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers 1068-95, University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty.
  10. Wendy Manning & Pamela Smock, 1995. "Why marry? Race and the transition to marriage among cohabitors," Demography, Springer, vol. 32(4), pages 509-520, November.
  11. Chiappori, Pierre-Andre, 1992. "Collective Labor Supply and Welfare," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(3), pages 437-67, June.
  12. Irwin Garfinkel & Sara McLanahan & Kristen Harknett, 1999. "Fragile Families and Welfare Reform," JCPR Working Papers 113, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
  13. Deborah Roempke Graefe & Daniel Lichter, 1999. "Life course transitions of American children: Parental cohabitation, marriage, and single motherhood," Demography, Springer, vol. 36(2), pages 205-217, May.
  14. 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.
  15. Irwin Garfinkel & Sara McLanahan & Kristen Harknett, 1999. "Fragile Families And Welfare Reform," Working Papers 985, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Research on Child Wellbeing..
  16. Grossbard-Shechtman, Shoshana Amyra, 1982. "A Theory of Marriage Formality: The Case of Guatemala," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 30(4), pages 813-30, July.
  17. Willis, Robert J, 1973. "A New Approach to the Economic Theory of Fertility Behavior," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(2), pages S14-64, Part II, .
  18. Amemiya, Takeshi, 1981. "Qualitative Response Models: A Survey," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 19(4), pages 1483-1536, December.
  19. Gary S. Becker, 1960. "An Economic Analysis of Fertility," NBER Chapters, in: Demographic and Economic Change in Developed Countries, pages 209-240 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Mincy, Ronald B. & Dupree, Allen T., 2001. "Welfare, child support and family formation," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 23(6-7), pages 577-601.
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