Welfare Entry and Exit after Marital Separation Among Australian Mothers

19 Pages Posted: 10 Dec 2018

See all articles by Bruce Bradbury

Bruce Bradbury

University of New South Wales (UNSW) - Social Policy Research Centre (SPRC)

Anna Zhu

RMIT University

Date Written: December 2018

Abstract

Australian administrative data is used to examine patterns of welfare receipt for up to 5 and a half years after marital separation. We examine relationship status, income support and other incomes both before and after separation with a particular focus on the routes into and out of welfare receipt. Exits associated with new partnering are compared with those likely to be due to earnings increases. We find substantial volatility in relationships, with around a third of separations being only temporary (re‐partnering with the original partner). Focusing on the permanent separations, we find a convergence in the welfare receipt rates of initially well‐off and poor mothers, which is then slowly unwound as more advantaged mothers leave welfare at a faster rate. The channels of welfare exit (finding a new partner versus exiting welfare while remaining single) are associated with different characteristics. Family size is an equally important predictor of exit rates as the age of the youngest child.

Suggested Citation

Bradbury, Bruce and Zhu, Anna, Welfare Entry and Exit after Marital Separation Among Australian Mothers (December 2018). Economic Record, Vol. 94, Issue 307, pp. 405-423, 2018, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3297707 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1475-4932.12427

Bruce Bradbury (Contact Author)

University of New South Wales (UNSW) - Social Policy Research Centre (SPRC) ( email )

Sydney, NSW 2052
Australia
+61 2 9385 3853 (Ext. 3853) (Phone)
+61 2 9385 1049 (Ext. 1049) (Fax)

Anna Zhu

RMIT University ( email )

124 La Trobe Street
Melbourne, 3000
Australia

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