IRP Discussion Paper Abstracts - 1993

Notes: Abstracts are plain text. Downloadable papers are in Adobe Acrobat (.pdf) format.
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Effects of Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Motherhood on High School Dropout
Douglas K. Anderson

Full Text: DP 1027-93

This paper uses data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth to explore the effect of fertility on high school dropout, and differences in that effect by age at first birth. Fertility is conceptualized as a series of states: pregnancy, childbirth, postpartum, and motherhood. Pregnant students and mothers are much more likely to drop out than students who are not pregnant or mothers. Models including a wide variety of controls for social background, ability, schooling factors, and adolescent behaviors show that the net effects of pregnancy and motherhood on dropout are substantively and statistically significant. The effects of fertility on dropout are strongest for the youngest students.

Supporting Children Born Outside of Marriage: Do Child Support Awards Keep Pace With Changes in Fathers' Incomes?
Daniel R. Meyer

Full Text: DP 1026-93

Many children born to mothers who are not married are very poor, and in many instances their mothers do not receive child support. Some excuse this by asserting that the fathers of these children do not and never will earn enough to pay adequate support. But the records of paternity cases that came to court in Wisconsin between 1980 and 1988 show that half of the fathers aged twenty-five and older had incomes over $10,000. More important, the men who had the lowest incomes when they became fathers--such men were usually teenagers--were the ones whose incomes increased the most over the years. Even so, the records reveal that there was no relationship between changes in the incomes of the fathers and changes in the amounts of child support awards, a situation the Family Support Act of 1988 is seeking to rectify.

The Effect of Work and Training Programs on Entry and Exit from the Welfare Caseload
Robert A. Moffitt

Full Text: DP 1025-93

To policymakers, the major attraction of work and training programs for welfare recipients is that they hold out the prospect that recipients can be moved off the rolls and into self-sufficiency in the private labor market, thereby decreasing welfare costs and caseloads. This paper considers the possibility that such programs may also affect the attractiveness of welfare in the first place, either by making welfare less desirable because the work- training program is viewed as a burden, or by making it more desirable because the program is viewed favorably by potential applicants. Such responses are termed "entry-rate effects." Some empirical estimates of these effects are presented which suggest that entry-rate responses, whether positive or negative, may affect the caseload more than the direct effect of the programs in moving recipients off the rolls.

Using Survey Participants to Estimate the Impact of Nonparticipation
I-Fen Lin and Nora Cate Schaeffer

Full Text: DP 1024-93

The authors evaluate the effectiveness of two models often used to measure the extent of nonparticipation bias in survey estimates. The first model establishes a "continuum of resistance" to being surveyed, placing people who were interviewed after one phone call on one end and nonparticipants on the other. The second assumes that there are "classes" of nonparticipants and that similar classes can be found among participants; it identifies groups of participants thought to be like nonparticipants and uses them as "proxies" to estimate the characteristics of nonparticipants. The authors use these models to examine how accurately they estimate the characteristics of nonparticipants and the impact of nonparticipation on survey estimates of means of child support awards and payments in Wisconsin. They find that neither model detects the true extent of nonparticipation bias.

Trends over Time in the Educational Attainments of Single Mothers
Peter D. Brandon

Full Text: DP 1023-93

Although high school dropout rates have been declining among members of virtually all major demographic groups, the dropout rates of single mothers remain high. This is troubling, given that the author finds that over the last quarter century single mothers who do not graduate from high school have been more likely to go on welfare than single mothers who do graduate. In fact, single mothers on welfare are more than twice as likely to be high school dropouts than are single mothers who are not on welfare. The author also discovers that the welfare participation rate of single white mothers who are high school dropouts has been rapidly rising and is approaching the welfare participation rate of black single mothers who are dropouts. Data are from March supplements of the Current Population Survey.

Welfare Benefits and Family-Size Decisions of Never-Married Women
Philip K. Robins and Paul Fronstin

Full Text: DP 1022-93

Since the 1970s, the out-of-wedlock birthrate has been increasing rapidly in the United States and has prompted several states to propose (and in some cases, enact) legislation to deny access to higher AFDC benefits for families in which the mother gives birth while receiving AFDC. The authors investigate whether AFDC benefit levels are systematically related to the family-size decisions of never-married women. Using a Poisson Regression model, applied to Current Population Survey data from the years 1980-1988, they find that the basic benefit level positively influences family size for white and Hispanic women, but not for black women. Incremental benefits for larger families, however, do not affect family-size decisions, suggesting that reducing (or eliminating) this differential will not necessarily reduce the number of illegitimate births. The basic benefit level positively affects the family-size decision of high school dropouts, but not of high school graduates. This suggests that to discourage nonmarital births, policymakers should consider altering the AFDC benefit structure in such a way as to encourage single mothers to complete high school. However, being a high school dropout might be a proxy for some other underlying characteristic of the woman, and inducing women to complete high school who otherwise would not might have no effect whatsoever on nonmarital births.

Trends in Wages, Underemployment, and Mobility among Part-Time Workers
Jerry A. Jacobs

Full Text: DP 1021-93

This study examines three trends in the labor market experiences of part-time workers: (1) trends in real earnings; (2) trends in the extent of involuntary part-time work (underemployment); and (3) trends in the rate of exit from part-time work. Data are from Current Populating Surveys from the 1970s and 1980s. It considers whether observed changes in the position of part-time workers are due to changes in the attributes of part-time workers, the occupational and industrial location of part-time jobs, the process of selectivity into part-time employment, or changes in the returns to these factors. The questions addressed in this study have significant implications for research on poverty because, unless supplemented by other family earners, the low earnings levels of part-time job holders make them vulnerable to poverty and dependency.

The Earned Income Tax Credit: Participation, Compliance, and Antipoverty Effectiveness
John Karl Scholz

Full Text: DP 1020-93

This paper examines the participation rate of the earned income tax credit (EITC). After examining a variety of data sources on EITC recipiency, my preferred estimates indicate that 80 to 86 percent of eligible taxpayers received the credit in 1990, which implies fewer than 2.1 million taxpayers entitled to the credit failed to receive it. I then examine factors correlated with nonparticipation and find that many are consistent with rational or voluntary explanations for nonparticipation. The paper concludes with a discussion of the labor market incentives and antipoverty effectiveness of the credit before and after the August 1993 expansion of the EITC.

Intergenerational Transfers and the Accumulation of Wealth
William G. Gale and John Karl Scholz

Full Text: DP 1019-93

This paper provides evidence on the role of intergenerational transfers as a source of wealth. We use household data on transfers to provide direct estimates of transfer wealth, as we distinguish between intended transfers (for example, gifts to other households) and possible unintended transfers (bequests). We estimate that intended transfers account for at least 20 percent of net worth, and possibly significantly more. Thus a significant portion of U.S. wealth accumulation cannot be explained by the life-cycle model (according to which wealth is accumulated and consumed within a lifetime), even when the model is augmented to allow for bequests. We also show, contrary to many studies of transfers that focus only on bequests, that transfers between living persons are an important component of aggregate transfers.

The Employment Effect in Retail Trade of California's 1988 Minimum Wage Increase
Lowell J. Taylor and Taeil Kim

Full Text: DP 1018-93

In this paper, the authors study the outcome of an unusually clean natural experiment--California's large minimum wage increase of 1988. Two different approaches to evaluating the experiment result in the same conclusion: the textbook analysis of minimum wages holds true. In particular, the authors find that employment growth in California's low-wage retail trade industry was slowed by the minimum wage increase.

The "Misnorming" of the U.S. Military Entrance Examination and Its Effect on Minority Enlistments
Joshua D. Angrist

Full Text: DP 1017-93

The score a prospective recruit must earn on the military's entrance examination was raised in 1980 in response to an error discovered in the score scale previously used. Raising this score led to a reduction in enlistments, especially among minorities. Recent plans to reduce the military have also had an adverse impact on service opportunities for minority applicants. This paper considers empirical and theoretical aspects of the relationship between entrance standards and minority representation in the military, focusing on racial differences in the proportion of qualified applicants who enlist. The results suggest that increases in test score standards have a large impact on minority enlistment not only because minorities have lower scores, but also because qualified minority applicants are far more likely than other qualified applicants to enlist.

The Loss of Earnings Capability from Disability/Health Limitations: Toward a New Social Indicator
Robert Haveman, Barbara Wolfe, Lawrence Buron, and Steven C. Hill

Full Text: DP 1016-93

Health problems and physical and mental impairments can restrict the kind and amount of work that individuals can perform. Several studies have looked at the loss in earnings suffered by disabled/health-limited workers, but they do not examine the trend in this loss over time. The authors propose an alternative indicator of productivity loss that is more appropriate for intertemporal comparisons: "lost earnings capability"-the difference between the amount of money persons could potentially earn if they were free of disability/health limitations and the amount of money that they can actually earn given their limitations. The estimates indicate that the mean lost earnings capability per disabled/health-limited person grew over the period from 1973 to 1988, while the population with disabilities/health limitations fell. In 1973, lost earnings capacity totaled about 5.3 percent of Gross National Product (GNP); by 1988, the loss had fallen to about 4.5 percent of GNP as a consequence of the reduction in the number of people with limitations. Data are from the Current Population Surveys and the Survey of Income and Program Participation.

Using Data on Applicants to Training Programs to Measure the Program's Effects on Earnings
Glen Cain, Steven Bell, Larry Orr, and Winston Lin

Full Text: DP 1015-93

Using data from the AFDC Homemaker-Home Health Aide Demonstration, a welfare training program which had an experimental design, a method of evaluation is developed for possible application in a nonexperimental setting, where random assignment is not available. Two techniques to control for selection bias are pursued. One uses applicants as the source of one or more comparison groups, which effectively controls for the self-selection process of volunteering. The other uses the subjective ranking of suitability of applicants by program administrators; although crudely measured, this variable takes into account administrative selection procedures. The subjective ranking is added to the more conventional list of independent variables. Two nonexperimental applicant groups, those who were screened out and those who dropped out, appear sufficiently similar to the control group in predicted earnings in the two postprogram years to indicate that the procedure has promise. IRS data are used to measure earnings in the years that preceded, overlapped, and followed the training program.

The Education and Labor Market Outcomes of Adolescent Fathers
Maureen A. Pirog-Good

Full Text: DP 1014-93

The author examines the educational and labor market outcomes of young men in the United States, with a particular emphasis on adolescent fathers. She finds that men who were teen fathers complete fewer years of education and are less likely to finish high school than men who were not teen fathers. These educational deficits persist even after family and personal characteristics are taken into account. Teen fathers enter the labor market earlier and initially earn more money than other men; by the time teen fathers reach their mid-twenties, they earn less. Somewhat encouragingly, the long-term earnings deficit of teen fathers disappears after controlling for personal and family background. This implies that teen fathers are as capable as other young men from similar backgrounds of providing for their children. Data are from the National Longitudinal Survey of Labor Market Participation-Youth Cohort.

AFDC-UP, Two-Parent Families, and the Family Support Act of 1988: Evidence from the 1990 CPS and the 1987 NSFH
Anne E. Winkler

Full Text: DP 1013-93

What is the effect of the AFDC-Unemployed Parent (UP) program on two-parent families? This question has become particularly relevant following the passage of the Family Support Act (FSA) of 1988, effective October 1990, which extended the previously state-optional AFDC-Unemployed Parent program to all states. This study clarifies what is meant by "two-parent" family in the federal legislation and then empirically investigates whether AFDC-UP is pro-family by taking advantage of cross-state variation in the presence (or lack thereof) of an AFDC-UP program before the FSA. AFDC-UP's effect on two-parent families is examined using individual-level data from two sources: (1) the March 1990 Current Population Survey and (2) the 1987 National Survey of Families and Households. The availability of AFDC-UP is not found to provide a significant pro-family boost, as hoped for by Congress. Rather, UP is found to have a significant negative or insignificant effect on a woman's probability of marriage, depending on the model specification, and an insignificant effect on her probability of being in a "natural" two-parent family. Of particular note, findings regarding AFDC-UP and AFDC generosity appear sensitive to the inclusion of a variable reflecting community conservatism.

Did FIP Increase the Self-Sufficiency of Welfare Recipients in Washington State? Evidence from the FIS Data Set
Duane E. Leigh

Full Text: DP 1012-93

The author estimates the effect of the Family Independence Program FIP) on the economic self-sufficiency of welfare recipients in Washington state. He finds that, as designed, enrollment in employment and training activities increased under FIP. FIP had no impact, however, on employment rates and earnings, and it actually led to increases in welfare participation and welfare benefits. According to the author, FIP introduced incentives to remain on welfare; this, along with its failure to encourage job placement and job development, is probably to blame for the program's effects on welfare dependency. Data are from the Family Income Study longitudinal survey.

The Impact of AFDC on Young Women's Childbearing Decisions
Gregory Acs

Full Text: DP 1011-93

This research seeks to reevaluate the relationship between AFDC and fertility by focusing on births to women through the age of twenty-three using data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY). Using discrete time hazard models, I examine the impact of AFDC on births directly associated with AFDC, on out-of-wedlock births, and on all births. I also examine the importance of AFDC on subsequent births—births to women who already have a child. I find that AFDC generosity has very modest pro-natalist effects, at best, on first births and virtually no effect on subsequent births. Furthermore, exposure to AFDC does not encourage future childbearing, although mothers who received AFDC in the past are more likely to receive AFDC upon having a second child.

Children's Prospects and Children's Policy
Robert Haveman and Barbara Wolfe

Full Text: DP 1010-93

A review of trends in the well-being of children reveals growing adverse effects—in terms of health, family income and poverty levels, changes in family structure, welfare receipt—and a smaller number of positive effects, including reduced family size and increased levels of parental education. These indicators justify the current public concern for children, a concern that is motivated, the authors conclude, not so much by self-interest as by the altruism manifested in the traditional willingness of Americans to provide benefits to those perceived as innocent victims.

A human capital framework for thinking about public policy for children is described. It involves social (primarily governmental) investment in children, parental investment in children, and choices made by children themselves. Within this framework the authors explore policy questions: Is there underinvestment in children? Which types of investment have the largest payoffs? On which children should investment be concentrated? Who should be the investors? What factors figure among determinants of children's success? In conclusion, a course of action is offered for increasing investments in, and the success of, the nation's children.

Effects of Public and Private Transfers on Income Variability and the Poverty Rate
William G. Gale, Nancy L. Maritato, and John Karl Scholz

Full Text: DP 1009-93

The principal goals of public assistance programs include reducing the incidence of poverty and reducing the variability of household income. In this paper, we examine the extent to which private interfamily transfers would either offset or amplify the effects of changes in public transfers. Our estimates suggest that reductions in public transfer programs would raise the poverty rate and income variability; private transfers would rise as well, but would offset only a small portion of the reduction in public assistance.

What Fathers Say about Involvement with Children after Separation
Judith A. Seltzer and Yvonne Brandreth

Full Text: DP 1008-93

This paper examines the potential impact of nonresponse on information about paternal involvement after separation by comparing the sample of mothers whose children have a nonresident father to the sample of nonresident fathers in the National Survey of Families and Households. We show that when the samples are restricted to parents of children who were born in a first marriage, resident mothers and nonresident fathers are similar on a variety of demographic characteristics, including racial composition, family size, and duration of separation. Although resident mothers and nonresident fathers in the restricted sample report more similar levels of paternal involvement after divorce than in the comparison of the unrestricted samples, fathers still report greater paternal involvement than do mothers. Whether the respondent is the mother or father does not affect the factors that predict variation in child support receipts/payments or visits between nonresident fathers and children. The last part of the paper examines nonresident fathers' attitudes toward their role as a parent. Fathers' evaluations of their role depend more on their remarriage and characteristics of the children in their new household than on involvement with children from a previous relationship.

Trends in High School Dropout among White, Black, and Hispanic Youth, 1973 to 1989
Robert M. Hauser and Hanam Samuel Phang

Full Text: DP 1007-93

Between 1973 and 1989, data from October Current Population Surveys show that annual dropout rates are successively higher in each of the last three years of high school, and men drop out more than women, especially at the twelfth-grade level. Dropout is least among whites and greatest among Hispanics, and it has declined among whites and blacks since the late 1970s. Social background favors school continuation among whites relative to blacks or Hispanics, but trends in background were favorable both to whites and blacks. Residence in a large central city increases high school dropout sharply among blacks. The end of compulsory school attendance increases dropout, especially among minorities. Female household headship increases dropout, especially among whites, and postsecondary education of parents sharply lowers dropout. After controlling social background, high school dropout rates were greatest among whites and least among blacks in the 1970s, but a steady decline in dropout among whites, regardless of social background, has almost eliminated net racial and ethnic differentials.

The Family Background and Attitudes of Teen Fathers
Maureen A. Pirog-Good

Full Text: DP 1006-93

The author examines the family background and attitudes of teenage fathers. She finds that a greater percentage of teen fathers than of teenagers who are not fathers come from poor and unstable households whose members are less educated; moreover, the fathers of teenage dads are less likely to hold professional positions and are more likely to be blue-collar workers than are the fathers of other teenage males. Also, teenage fathers have lower self-esteem, and a greater percentage of them believe that fate--and not they themselves--controls their lives. Generally speaking, for whites, being a teenage father is associated with having a low self-esteem, an external locus of control, and conservative sex-role attitudes, whereas for blacks, it is not. Data are from the National Longitudinal Survey of Labor Market Experiences-Youth Cohort.

What Do Controlled Experiments Reveal about Outcomes When Treatments Vary?
Charles F. Manski

Full Text: DP 1005-93

A common concern of evaluation studies is to learn the distribution of outcomes when each member of a population receives a treatment resulting from a specified treatment policy. Many recent studies have used controlled experiments to evaluate policies mandating the same treatment for all members of the population. Policies mandating homogeneous treatment are of interest, but so are policies that make treatment vary across the population. This paper examines the use of experimental evidence to infer the outcomes that would occur when treatment may vary across the population. Experimental evidence from the Perry Preschool Project is used to illustrate the inferential problem and the main findings of the analysis.

The Relationship between Child Support Enforcement Tools and Child Support Outcomes
Irwin Garfinkel and Philip K. Robins

Full Text: DP 1004-93

The 1984 Child Support Amendments and the 1988 Family Support Act increased the ability of state child support offices to enforce child support obligations. The authors estimate the impact of several provisions of these two pieces of legislation on child support payments and awards. They find that withholding child support payments from the wages of noncustodial parents, allowing paternity to be established until a child's eighteenth birthday, and advertising enforcement services lead to more money collected in child support, more (and higher) child support awards, and higher collection rates. Requiring child support to be paid through a third party and generous spending by states on their enforcement programs also positively affect payments and awards. Data are from the Child Support Supplement of the Current Population Survey.

Attitudes that Make a Difference: Expectancies and Economic Progress
Maria Szekelyi and Robert Tardos

Full Text: DP 1003-93

The authors estimate the influence that a person's expectancies and attitudes (about the future, toward planning for future events, regarding saving or spending money, etc.) have on economic outcomes. They find that people who expect to be economically successful generally will be so. The findings of previous research on this topic have been controversial and anything but unanimous. The present authors' results, which are based on longitudinal data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, suggest that attitudes and expectancies help determine one's economic position.

The New State Welfare Initiatives
Michael Wiseman

Full Text: DP 1002-93

During 1992 the Bush administration encouraged states to experiment with innovations in the operation of the Aid to Families with Dependent Children program. State demonstration programs were facilitated by quick approval of requests for the waiver of portions of the Social Security Act and related regulations when the innovations required such latitude. By the end of the administration's tenure in 1993, waivers had been approved or extended for new demonstrations in eleven states. This paper evaluates Bush waiver policy and reviews the demonstrations approved, with emphasis on programs in California, New Jersey, and Wisconsin. It is argued that the set of criteria applied in evaluating proposals was incomplete and that flaws in many of the demonstrations make it unlikely that much will be learned from their implementation. The most important missing element in the Bush policy was a vision of the role of state welfare demonstrations in the process of improving national transfer policy; early evidence suggests that such a vision is missing from the policy of the Clinton administration as well.

Trends in the Covariance Structure of Earnings in the United States: 1969-1987
Robert Moffitt and Peter Gottschalk

Full Text: DP 1001-93

We examine the increasing variance of earnings among males with similar education and age levels over the 1970s and 1980s by focusing on changes in the covariance structure of earnings. Using data from the Michigan Panel Study of Income Dynamics from 1969–1987 for white males, we find that about half of the increase arose from an increase in the variance of the permanent component of earnings and half from an increase in the variance of the transitory component, where the transitory component reflected shocks that died out within three years. We thus find that increases in transitory shocks are as important as increases in the dispersion of permanent earnings in explaining recent increases in earnings inequality. Indeed, the increase in transitory shocks was especially great in the 1980s. Our investigation of earnings mobility indicates that long-term mobility fell in the 1970s but only short-term mobility fell in the 1980s, the latter reflecting the increase in short-term covariances arising from a higher variance of serially correlated transitory shocks. The mobility declines were concentrated in the top and bottom quintiles of the earnings distribution.

The Causes of Declining Economic Well-Being among Women Who Had Children as Teenagers
Amy C. Butler

Full Text: DP 1000-93

The economic well-being of 25-year-old women who began childbearing as teenagers declined during the 1970s and 1980s, whereas it did not for women who delayed childbearing until they were at least 20 years old. The decline in economic well-being appears to be due to a number of factors that changed over the last several decades, including men's wages and hours worked, local unemployment rates, and welfare benefit levels. The single most important factor contributing to the declining economic well-being was the decreasing likelihood that women who began childbearing as teenagers would be married later in life. Fewer children, higher educational attainment, and higher employment rates kept the decline from being steeper than it might otherwise have been.

Prying the Lid from the Black Box: Plotting Evaluation Strategy for Welfare Employment and Training Programs
David Greenberg, Robert H. Meyer, and Michael Wiseman

Full Text: DP 999-93

To date, most evaluations of welfare-related employment and training (WRET) programs have focused on the difference between outcomes in a single site for people who receive the program's "treatment" and those in a control group who do not. This paper argues that progress in determining what makes programs effective requires greater emphasis on planning for synthesis of results from multiple sites and perhaps multiple treatment variations to provide insight into the program's production function: the relationship among outcomes and the characteristics of the program tested, the environment of implementation, and the people who participated. The authors develop a multilevel model of WRET outcomes and use the model (1) to determine analytically the number of sites and observations per site required to achieve a target level of efficiency in estimating production function parameters, (2) to structure a review of recent multisite WRET program evaluations, and (3) as a foundation for a suggested multisite program evaluation agenda.

Inequality and Poverty in the United States: 1900 to 1990
Eugene Smolensky and Robert Plotnick

Full Text: DP 998-93

Over the period from 1900 to 1990 there was no trend in income inequality. Inequality was high and rising during the first three decades of the century and peaked during the Depression. It fell sharply during World War II and remained at the lower level in the 1950s and 1960s. In the 1970s and 1980s it rose rapidly to pre-WWII levels. The rate of poverty exhibited a long-run downward trend from about 80 percent in 1900 to the 12 to 14 percent range in recent years. There was considerable fluctuation around this secular trend. Changes in inequality were largely produced by demographic changes, the growth and decline of various industries, changes in patterns of international trade, and World War II. Economic growth, demographic change, unemployment, and inflation were the primary drivers of the rate of poverty. Public policy has reduced the market-generated level of inequality, but since 1950 has had little effect on the trend in inequality. Prior to 1950, the growth of government, and particularly the introduction of a broadly based income tax during World War II, coincided with and partly produced the sharp downward shift in inequality of that era. Government had little effect on poverty rates until 1950. Public income transfer programs have reduced poverty rates appreciably in recent decades. Since World War II, when it has been on a large enough scale to matter, public policy has tended to reinforce market-generated trends in inequality and poverty rather than offset them.

Child Support Guidelines and the Economic Well-Being of Our Nation's Children
Maureen A. Pirog-Good

Full Text: DP 997-93

Between 1988 and 1991, variation in the amounts of child support awards across states declined, with the exception of awards for low-income obligors. Nevertheless, there remain enormous differences in the amount of support dictated by state child support guidelines. For low-income obligors, support awards in 1991 ranged between $25 and $327, while for the highest-income obligors they ranged between $616 and $1607. This variation in awards was not found to result from differences in the cost of living across states. Hence the large differences in support awards across states for obligors in identical family and financial situations give rise to serious equity considerations and suggest the development of a federal standard for setting awards. Further, in many states, nominal and inflation-adjusted support awards declined between 1988 and 1991. Overall, nonresident parents do not pay a fair share of the costs of raising their children. Given that children now constitute the largest group of individuals living in poverty in the United States, emphasis should be placed on larger awards, expressing child support obligations as a percentage of income, and a child support assurance program.

Family Provisions at the Workplace Level and Their Relationship to Absenteeism, Retention, and Productivity of Workers: Australian Evidence
Peter D. Brandon

Full Text: DP 996-93

This paper analyzes how employer-based child care and family leave affect worker absenteeism, turnover, and productivity. It finds that on-site child care is negatively associated with absenteeism and positively associated with worker performance. Family leave is also associated with decreased absenteeism. Analyses also suggest that human-resource managers are as important as unions to worker performance, and that in some cases firm attributes, such as size, motives, and shift work, are other important predictors of worker performance and retention. Data are from a nationally representative sample of Australian workplaces.

Income-Pooling Arrangements, Economic Constraints, and Married Mothers' Child Care Choices
Peter D. Brandon

Full Text: DP 995-93

This paper investigates whether financial agreements between husbands and wives, the cost of child care and the price of a mother's time, and sources of income affect a mother's decision to use child care. This study finds that for working mothers, the price of child care is what matters, not their price of time; for nonemployed mothers, the reverse is true. However, similar patterns for income effects are found for all mothers. Husbands* incomes do not affect mothers' child care choices, but mothers* own abilities to pay and sources of unearned income do affect their child care choices. The only detected effect of spouses* incomes on wives' child care choices occurs when husbands pool their incomes with their wives' incomes. Hence, although child care is a collective consumption good, not all wives in two-parent families have access to husbands' incomes with which to pay for child care.

Are There Really Deadbeat Dads? The Relationship between Ability to Pay, Enforcement, and Compliance in Nonmarital Child Support Cases
Judi Bartfeld and Daniel R. Meyer

Full Text: DP 994-93

The authors examine the determinants of child support compliance in nonmarital child support cases in Wisconsin, focusing on the father's ability to pay and the stringency of the child support enforcement system. They find that tougher enforcement rules positively affect compliance rates. Higher incomes are associated with higher compliance rates, and lower incomes, with lower rates. The percentage of income that is owed in child support also has an effect on compliance. Orders which represent a high percentage of income relative to existing guidelines are associated with lower compliance rates. However, owing a low percentage of income only has an effect on compliance for fathers with very low incomes; for these fathers, obligating them to pay low amounts of support positively affects compliance. These results suggest that a father's to pay, in addition to his willingness to pay, determines the extent to which he fulfills his child support obligation. The authors conclude that to increase child support collections, we should increase both the earning power of noncustodial parents and the stringency of the enforcement system.

Simplicity and Complexity in the Effects of Parental Structure on High School Graduation
Roger A. Wojtkiewicz

Full Text: DP 993-93

More and more children are living in broken or single-parent families, and researchers are paying more attention to the effects that living in such families may have on educational attainment. This study uses data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth to consider how parentalstructure experiences impact chances of high school graduation. On the one hand, its results suggest that the effects of parental structure are simpler than theoretical notions might imply. For example, any year spent in a nonintact family, regardless of family type, lowers chances of high school graduation. On the other hand, the results indicate that some parental-structure effects are indeed complex. For example, it is the transition into, and not the duration in, mother-only families that is negative for educational attainment, while for mother-stepfather families it is the duration, not the transition, that is negative.

Parental-Structure Experiences of Whites, Blacks, Mexicans, and Puerto Ricans
Roger A. Wojtkiewicz

Full Text: DP 992-93

This study reports the percentage of whites, blacks, Mexicans, and Puerto Ricans who, as children, adolescents, and teenagers, lived in one or more of several family types (e.g., mother-father, mother-only, mother-stepfather). Unlike previous analyses of the topic, the present one looks at Mexicans and Puerto Ricans separately, treating them as two distinct groups. It finds that whites are least likely to have ever lived in a nonintact family (i.e., a family whose heads are not the biological mother and father of the children), whereas blacks are most likely. The percentages of Mexicans and Puerto Ricans who have ever lived in a nonintact family fall in between and are quite different from each other, proving that the two groups should not be indiscriminately combined under the category of "Hispanic."

Putting Children First: Women, Maternalism, and Welfare in the Twentieth Century
Linda Gordon

Full Text: DP 991-93

A strategy of putting children first has indelibly marked the U.S. welfare state. The author traces the history of this strategy and examines its meanings and consequences. Around the turn of the century, women were influential in formulating and popularizing the view that promoting the welfare of the nation should begin with children. Women first promoted this view in order to gain respect and power for themselves as mothers and ultimately as women; later on, they also saw that children could be used as an opening wedge to expand the welfare state. Ironically, the putting-children-first strategy produced policies that may have made it more difficult for women to mother and for a welfare state to gain popular support.