The Effect of Unemployment Rates on Non-Custodial Parents' Provision of Child Support.

Ronald B. Mincy, Columbia University
Daniel P. Miller, Boston University

This paper examines the effects of unemployment rates on the provision of child support by non-custodial parents (NCPs) using data from the Current Population Survey - Child Support Supplement. It is motivated by the growth of single parent families and the accompanying importance of the child support system. Also, economic forces may prove particularly important in light of vast increases in unemployment rates in the current downturn. Finally, proposals to expand the federal EITC to NCPs require that NCPs be current with their child support to receive the credit, and so unemployment rates might impact anti-poverty policy in unexpected ways. Analysis finds that the unemployment rate is associated with significant decreases in the odds that parents receive the full amount of child support due to them. This effect persists with the inclusion of state fixed effects and is limited to families where the custodial parent is Hispanic of any race.

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Presented in Session 11: Economic Recessions and Demographic Outcomes