Single Mothers and Work

Posted: 29 Feb 2008

See all articles by Libertad Gonzalez

Libertad Gonzalez

Universitat Pompeu Fabra; Barcelona Graduate School of Economics (Barcelona GSE); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: MAY 2004


Western countries differ greatly in the extent to which single mothers participate in the labour market. Using LIS data for 15 countries, I propose and estimate a simple structural model of labour supply that incorporates the main variables that influence the work decision for single mothers. The results suggest that a large part of the cross-country variation in the employment rates of single mothers can be explained by their different demographic characteristics and by the variation in expected income in the in-work versus out-of-work states. Women with higher expected earnings are more likely to work. Higher in-work benefits encourage employment. Single mothers with higher income from other sources, including child support, are less likely to work. Even after demographic and income variables are controlled for, the country dummies remain significant. This indicates that other variables not explicitly incorporated in the model, such as child care arrangements or social and cultural backgrounds, may also play a relevant role.

Keywords: single mothers, labor supply

JEL Classification: I38, J12, J22

Suggested Citation

Gonzalez, Libertad, Single Mothers and Work (MAY 2004). Socio-Economic Review, Vol. 2, pp. 285-313, 2004, Available at SSRN:

Libertad Gonzalez (Contact Author)

Universitat Pompeu Fabra ( email )

Ramon Trias Fargas 25-27
Barcelona, 08005

Barcelona Graduate School of Economics (Barcelona GSE)

Ramon Trias Fargas, 25-27
Barcelona, Barcelona 08005

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072

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