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Author: Hudson, Julie Lorrain
Resulting in 1 citation.
1. Hudson, Julie Lorrain
Welfare and Out-of-Wedlock Childbearing
Ph.D. Dissertation, The Johns Hopkins University, 2000. DAI 60,11A (2000): 4123
Cohort(s): NLSY79
Publisher: UMI - University Microfilms, Bell and Howell Information and Learning
Keyword(s): Abortion; Childbearing; Family Studies; Fertility; First Birth; Heterogeneity; Marital Status; Marriage; Modeling, Fixed Effects; Modeling, Probit; Parents, Single; Pregnancy and Pregnancy Outcomes; Racial Differences; Transfers, Financial; Welfare

Dramatic increases in out-of-wedlock childbearing in the U.S. between 1940 and 1993 are often blamed in part on Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC), a Federal cash transfer program offering cash benefits to low income single parent families through 1996. Research attempting to link benefits and childbearing spans over 30 years and generally finds mixed results. This dissertation addresses several issues in the literature in two separate essays using data from the 1994 National Longitudinal Survey for Youth. The first chapter investigates the use of state fixed effects in a non-marital fertility framework. Recent work in the childbearing literature suggests the need for state effects, as omitted state factors may be correlated with both benefit levels and fertility outcomes. A nested logit model extends the work of Lundberg and Plotnick (1994), allowing investigation of the various decisions leading to non-marital birth (pregnancy, abortion and marriage) rather than focusing on the dichotomous choice of whether a nonmarital birth occurs or not. I find a positive effect of AFDC benefits on non-marital birth for both black and non-black teens. This relationship is primarily fueled by marriage decisions, as single women are less likely to legitimize births. I also find evidence of a change in social norms, as teens born to later cohorts are more likely to respond to welfare incentives. Finally, welfare results for non-black teens are robust to state effects, while those for blacks are not. The second chapter addresses the issues surrounding "family cap" laws. These laws make welfare recipients ineligible for an increase in benefits if they have additional children while on welfare. The chapter investigates the effect of benefit increments on subsequent birth in hazard models for non-marital and marital birth. Random effects control for potential unobserved heterogeneity in the sample. I find positive welfare effects for whites, but none for nonwhites. Regular probit models suffer from unobserved heterogeneity but do not bias the welfare results. Marital status at first birth is found to be a strong predictor of marital status at the time of second birth and controls for unobserved heterogeneity found in regular probit specifications.
Bibliography Citation
Hudson, Julie Lorrain. Welfare and Out-of-Wedlock Childbearing. Ph.D. Dissertation, The Johns Hopkins University, 2000. DAI 60,11A (2000): 4123.