NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Dunning Delinquent Dads: The Effects of Child Support Enforcement on Child Support Receipt by Never Married Women

Richard B. Freeman, Jane Waldfogel

NBER Working Paper No. 6664
Issued in July 1998
NBER Program(s):   CH

Since the mid-1970s, the number of single-parent families has increased greatly in the U.S., contributing to the nation's child poverty problem. In response, the federal government and various states have tried to increase child support payments from non-custodial parents. Using data from administrative records and from the child support modules in the Survey of Income Program and Participation (SIPP) and the April and March Current Population Surveys (CPS), we find that the proportion of never married mothers receiving child support rose sharply in the 1980s and 1990s, with the largest increases in states where child support payment were particularly modest. Using within-state variation over time to determine the effect of policy on child support payments, we estimate that increased government expenditures on child support policies are responsible for about one fifth of the upward trend. Our results show that child support expenditures and tougher child support legislation policies work best in tandem. States that both increased expenditures and adopted tougher laws experienced the largest increase in the proportion of never married mothers receiving support.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w6664

Published: Freeman, Richard B. and Jane Waldfogel. "Dunning Delinquent Dads: The Effect Of Child Support Enforcement Policy On Child Support Receipt By Never Married Women, Dunning Delinquent Dads: The Effect Of Child Support Enforcement Policy On Child Support Receipt By Never Married Women," Journal of Human Resources, 2001, v36(2,Spring), 207-225.

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