Journal of family issues
Stricter child support enforcement may reduce unwed childbearing by raising the costs of fatherhood. The authors investigate this hypothesis using a sample of young women from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, to which they add information on state child support enforcement. Models of the probability of a teenage premarital birth and of teenage premarital pregnancy and pregnancy resolution provide tentative evidence that during the early 1980s, teens living in states with higher rates of paternity establishment were less likely to become unwed mothers. This relationship is stronger for non-Hispanic Whites than for non-Hispanic Blacks. The findings suggest that policies that shift more costs of premarital child-bearing to men may reduce this behavior, at least among non-Hispanic Whites. (Author abstract).
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