NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

The Effect of Welfare Payments on the Marriage and Fertility Behavior of Unwed Mothers: Results from a Twins Experiment

Jeff Grogger, Stephen G. Bronars

NBER Working Paper No. 6047
Issued in May 1997
NBER Program(s):   LS   PE

We study one aspect of the link between welfare and unwed motherhood: the relationship between benefit levels and the time-to-first-marriage and time-to-next-birth among women whose first" child was born out of wedlock. We use twin births to generate effectively random variation in welfare benefits among mothers within a state, which allows us to control for unobservable characteristics of states that typically confound the relationship between welfare payments and behavior. The twins approach yields evidence that higher base levels of welfare benefits: (1) lead initially unwed white mothers to forestall their eventual marriage; and (2) lead initially unwed black mothers to hasten their next birth. The magnitudes of these effects are small, however. Moreover, we find no evidence that the incremental benefit paid upon the birth of an additional child affects fertility.

download in pdf format
   (399 K)

email paper

Machine-readable bibliographic record - MARC, RIS, BibTeX

Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w6047

Published: Grogger, Jeff and Stephen G. Bronars. "The Effect Of Welfare Payments On The Marriage And Fertility Behavior Of Unwed Mothers: Results From A Twins Experiment," Journal of Political Economy, 2001, v109(3,Jun), 529-545. citation courtesy of

Users who downloaded this paper also downloaded* these:
Hoynes w5149 Does Welfare Play Any Role in Female Headship Decisions?
Hoynes w5644 Work, Welfare, and Family Structure: What Have We Learned?
Blau, Kahn, and Waldfogel w9338 The Impact of Welfare Benefits on Single Motherhood and Headship of Young Women: Evidence from the Census
Blau, Kahn, and Waldfogel w7510 Understanding Young Women's Marriage Decisions: The Role of Labor and Marriage Market Conditions
Kearney w9093 Is There an Effect of Incremental Welfare Benefits on Fertility Behavior? A Look at the Family Cap
 
Publications
Activities
Meetings
NBER Videos
Themes
Data
People
About

National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138; 617-868-3900; email: info@nber.org

Contact Us