Single mothers and marriage promotion : considering the consequences of divorce
Thesis (M.P.P.)--Georgetown University, 2009.; Includes bibliographical references. Concerns about the relationship between family structure and poverty have led to the emergence of public policies aimed at promoting marriage as an anti-poverty strategy. The disproportionately high poverty rates among female-headed households make the women who head them likely targets for such programs. While there is reason to believe that marriage will have some economic benefits for single mothers, it is equally important to consider the possibility and potential economic consequences of divorce. Differences in the observable characteristics of never married, married, and divorced women suggest that never married mothers will not fare as well in marriage or divorce as mothers who are observed in those marital statuses. Using data from the 2002 round of the National Survey of Family Growth, I compare the characteristics of never married, married, and divorced mothers who are similar in that they have had a non-marital first birth. I then conduct regression-based simulations to show how never married mothers would fare in marriage and divorce relative to their actual poverty levels and relative to the actual poverty levels of married and divorced mothers. The results have implications for the potential efficacy and design of marriage promotion programs.
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