Single Mothers and Their Children: Evaluating a Work-Encouraging Welfare Reform

50 Pages Posted: 24 Sep 2018

See all articles by Katrine Vellesen Løken

Katrine Vellesen Løken

Norwegian School of Economics (NHH) - Department of Economics

Kjell Erik Lommerud

University of Bergen - Department of Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Katrine Holm Reiso

Norwegian School of Economics

Date Written: September 2018

Abstract

Using rich administrative data from Norway, we evaluate a 1998 work-encouraging reform targeted at single parents. We especially focus on educational performance for the children of the involved single mothers. For these children, average school grades at age 16 dropped significantly by 0.7% of a standard deviation per additional year that their mothers were exposed to the reform. Furthermore, we find that the reform affected single mothers by increasing their working hours (and thereby reducing their time at home). We find no average effect on disposable income (mothers traded off reductions in benefits with increases in earnings). Thus, reduced parental time at home seems to be the main mechanism for the observed moderate drop in children's grades. In line with this, we find that the reform increased the use of formal after-school care, and we find a larger reform effect for children of mothers with no informal network to help with child care.

Keywords: child development, single mothers, time investments, welfare refom

JEL Classification: I24, I38, J13

Suggested Citation

Løken, Katrine Vellesen and Lommerud, Kjell Erik and Reiso, Katrine Holm, Single Mothers and Their Children: Evaluating a Work-Encouraging Welfare Reform (September 2018). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP13188. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3254223

Katrine Vellesen Løken (Contact Author)

Norwegian School of Economics (NHH) - Department of Economics ( email )

Helleveien 30
N-5035 Bergen
Norway

Kjell Erik Lommerud

University of Bergen - Department of Economics ( email )

Fosswinckelsgt. 6
N-5007 Bergen, 5007
Norway
+47 5 558 9209 (Phone)
+47 5 558 9210 (Fax)

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

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