AFDC and births to unwed women

Kurt C. Schaefer, Sarah E. Hamersma, Thomas D. Vander Veen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Most studies by economists have been inconclusive when seeking a consistent relationship between income-support programs [like aid to families with dependent children (AFDC)] and births to unwed women (or, as the literature traditionally terms it, illegitimacy). But a recent study [Southern Econ. J. 62 (1995) 44] reports a large, positive and statistically significant relationship when data are weighted to reflect differences in propensities toward illegitimacy. We find that the 1995 study appears to rely upon erroneous data and irregular econometric technique. When these are remedied, the major results are reversed. We then suggest that a switching regimes methodology, with parameters influenced by other variables, is more appropriate to the issue. Our empirical results confirm the literature's consensus that AFDC and illegitimacy do not appear to be strongly related.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)801-813
Number of pages13
JournalLabour Economics
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • AFDC
  • Ferminization of poverty
  • Illegitimacy
  • Income-support programs
  • Welfare programs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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