NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

The Impact of Welfare Benefits on Single Motherhood and Headship of Young Women: Evidence from the Census

Francine D. Blau, Lawrence M. Kahn, Jane Waldfogel

NBER Working Paper No. 9338
Issued in November 2002
NBER Program(s):CH, LS

This paper uses data from the 1970, 1980 and 1990 Censuses to investigate the impact of welfare benefits across Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) on the incidence of single motherhood and headship for young women. A contribution of the paper is the inclusion of both MSA fixed effects and MSA-specific time trends to account for fixed and trending unmeasured factors that could influence both welfare benefit levels and family formation. In such a model, we find no effect of welfare benefits on single motherhood for whites or blacks, and a positive effect of welfare benefits on single headship only for blacks.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w9338

Published: Blau, Francine, Lawrence M. Kahn and Jane Waldfogel. “The Impact of Welfare Benefits on Single Motherhood and Headship of Young Women: Evidence from the Census." Journal of Human Resources (Spring 2004). citation courtesy of

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