This paper finds some evidence to suggest that state welfare policies and practices may have contributed to the decline in single parenting and the increase in dual parenting among low-income families in the late 1990s. Specifically, higher child support collection rates and family cap policies are associated with declines in single parenting and increases in dual parenting. Other state policies such as strict sanctions and special rules for two parent families have no clear consistent association with living arrangements. The analysis uses very basic measures of welfare policies and practices, examines their effects one at a time rather than in combination, and focuses on changes between 1997 and 1999.
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