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Child Support Enforcement and Domestic Violence Among Non-Cohabiting Couples

43 Pages Posted: 14 Apr 2006  

Angela R. Fertig

Medica Research Institute

Irwin Garfinkel

Columbia University - School of Social Work

Sara McLanahan

Princeton University - Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs

Date Written: March 2006

Abstract

Some advocates worry that stronger child support enforcement may increase domestic violence. The predictions of a simple economic model are ambiguous; stronger enforcement may increase the mother's bargaining power, which reduces violence, but may also increase the father's opportunity and motive for violence thereby increasing violence. This paper examines whether enforcement is associated with domestic violence using the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study. We find that stricter enforcement increases the risk of violence among non-cohabiting mothers who receive welfare and have not obtained legal entitlement to child support. Controlling for sample selection and using difference-in-differences strengthens the result.

Keywords: child support enforcement, domestic violence, bargaining power

JEL Classification: D1, I1, I3, J1

Suggested Citation

Fertig, Angela R. and Garfinkel, Irwin and McLanahan, Sara, Child Support Enforcement and Domestic Violence Among Non-Cohabiting Couples (March 2006). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=895712 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.895712

Angela R. Fertig (Contact Author)

Medica Research Institute ( email )

401 Carlson Parkway
Minnetonka, MN 55305
United States

Irwin Garfinkel

Columbia University - School of Social Work ( email )

622 W. 113th Street
MC 4600
New York, NY 10027
United States
212-854-8489 (Phone)
212-854-7200 (Fax)

Sara McLanahan

Princeton University - Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs ( email )

Princeton University
Princeton, NJ 08544-1021
United States
609-258-4875 (Phone)
609-258-5804 (Fax)

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