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

47 Pages Posted: 22 Jun 2000 Last revised: 5 Oct 2010

See all articles by Jeffrey Grogger

Jeffrey Grogger

University of Chicago - Harris School of Public Policy; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Stephen G. Bronars

University of Texas at Austin

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: May 1997

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

Grogger, Jeffrey T. and Bronars, Stephen G., The Effect of Welfare Payments on the Marriage and Fertility Behavior of Unwed Mothers: Results from a Twins Experiment (May 1997). NBER Working Paper No. w6047. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=226457

Jeffrey T. Grogger (Contact Author)

University of Chicago - Harris School of Public Policy ( email )

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Chicago, IL 60637
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National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Stephen G. Bronars

University of Texas at Austin ( email )

Austin, TX 78712
United States
512-475-8529 (Phone)
Not available (Fax)

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