How does a single mother choose kin and welfare support?

by Lingxin Hao


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The number of female-headed families has increased dramatically in the past two decades and the importance of external support from private and public sources has drawn increasing research attention. This paper proposes a one-decision model to examine the determinants of kin and welfare support. Using data on single mothers from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, the study has found: (1) greater kin economic resources substitute for public aid, (2) intact parents discourage their daughters' participation in AFDC, (3) government aid crowds out kin contributions to their daughters and grandchildren, (4) higher wage rates of single mothers and larger amounts of child support promote leaving welfare programs, and (5) single mothers with higher income resources still demand kin support.

Originally published in: Social Science Research, v. 24, pp. 1-27.

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