Child Support and Fathers' Remarriage and Fertility

David E. Bloom, Cecilia Conrad, Cynthia Miller

NBER Working Paper No. 5781
Issued in October 1996
NBER Program(s):Program on the Economics of Aging, Health Care Program, Labor Studies Program

This paper tests the hypothesis that child support obligations impede remarriage among nonresident fathers. Hazard models fit to data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth and from the Survey of Income and Program Participation reveal that child support obligations deter remarriage among low-income nonresident fathers. The benefits to children of stricter child support enforcement are thus diminished by the negative effects of child support on remarriage, as a substantial share of nonresident fathers remarry and help support women with children. Indeed, simple calculations based on our findings suggest that the financial benefits to children in single-parent families of improved enforcement may be substantially or completely offset by the negative effects of enforcement that operate indirectly through diminished remarriage. The results provide no evidence that child support influences the nature of matches in the remarriage market or the likelihood of subsequent fertility.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w5781

Published: Garfinkel, I., S. McLanahan, D. Meyer, and J. Seltor (eds.) The Effects of Child Support Enforcement on Non-Resident Fathers. New York: Russell Sage, 1998.

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