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Child Support and Subsequent Nonmarital Fertility

There is broad concern about increases in relationship instability  and the related growth in complex families created when adults have children with multiple partners. One potential factor influencing subsequent fertility is child support receipt. Additional income from child support might change the incentives for mothers to form new marital or nonmarital relationships, and have additional children. However, the direction and magnitude of any effect is not well established. In this report, we take advantage of a policy experiment that resulted in randomly assigned differences in child support income to investigate the effects of child support receipt on subsequent nonmarital fertility with a new partner. We use the random (uncorrelated with any other differences between mothers) assignment of mothers to receive all or only some of the child support paid on their behalf to identify the causal effect of child support income on subsequent fertility. For most specifications, we find no evidence of a substantively or statistically significant effect.


Child Support, Child Support Policy Research, CSDE, Family & Partnering, Multiple-Partner Fertility, Pass-Through & Disregard, WI Administrative Data Core


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