Family Cap Provisions and Changes in Births and Abortions

45 Pages Posted: 19 Jan 2004 Last revised: 11 Sep 2009

See all articles by Theodore Joyce

Theodore Joyce

CUNY Baruch College - Zicklin School of Business; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Robert Kaestner

University of Chicago; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Sanders Korenman

City University of New York - School of Public Affairs; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Stanley Henshaw

Alan Guttmacher Institute

Date Written: January 2004

Abstract

As part of welfare reform efforts in the 1990s, twenty-three states implemented family caps, provisions that deny or reduce cash assistance to welfare recipients who have additional births. We use birth and abortion records from 24 states to estimate effects of family caps on birth and abortion rates. We use age, marital status and completed schooling to identify women at high risk for use of public assistance, and parity (number of previous live births) to identify those most directly affected by the family cap. In family cap states, birth rates fell more and abortion rates rose more among high-risk women with at least one previous live birth compared to similar childless women, consistent with an effect of the family cap. However, this parity-specific pattern of births and abortions also occurred in states that implemented welfare reform with no family cap. Thus, the effects of welfare reform may have differed between mothers and childless women, but there is little evidence of an independent effect of the family cap.

Suggested Citation

Joyce, Theodore J. and Kaestner, Robert and Korenman, Sanders and Henshaw, Stanley, Family Cap Provisions and Changes in Births and Abortions (January 2004). NBER Working Paper No. w10214, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=486218

Theodore J. Joyce (Contact Author)

CUNY Baruch College - Zicklin School of Business ( email )

17 Lexington Avenue
New York, NY 10010
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

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New York, NY 10016-4309
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Robert Kaestner

University of Chicago ( email )

1155 East 60th Street
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

365 Fifth Avenue, 5th Floor
New York, NY 10016-4309
United States

Sanders Korenman

City University of New York - School of Public Affairs ( email )

135 E 22nd St
New York, NY 10010
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Stanley Henshaw

Alan Guttmacher Institute ( email )

120 Wall Street
New York, NY 10005
United States

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