Parental Responses to Child Support Obligations: Evidence from Administrative Data

Maya Rossin-Slater, Miriam Wüst

NBER Working Paper No. 22227
Issued in May 2016
NBER Program(s):CH, PE

We leverage non-linearities in Danish child support guidelines and rich administrative data to provide causal estimates of parental behavioral responses to child support obligations. We estimate that a 1,000 DKK ($149) increase in a father's obligation is associated with a 506 DKK ($75) increase in his payment. A higher obligation also reduces father-child co-residence, pointing to substitution between financial and non-pecuniary investments. Further, obligations increase parental post-separation fertility, and reduce labor supply among high-income fathers. Our findings suggest that government efforts to increase child investments through mandates on parents can be complicated by their behavioral responses to them.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w22227

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