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Welfare Entry and Exit after Marital Separation among Australian Mothers

Bruce Bradbury () and Anna Zhu

The Economic Record, 2018, vol. 94, issue 307, 405-423

Abstract: Australian administrative data is used to examine patterns of welfare receipt for up to 5 and a half years after marital separation. We examine relationship status, income support and other incomes both before and after separation with a particular focus on the routes into and out of welfare receipt. Exits associated with new partnering are compared with those likely to be due to earnings increases. We find substantial volatility in relationships, with around a third of separations being only temporary (re‐partnering with the original partner). Focusing on the permanent separations, we find a convergence in the welfare receipt rates of initially well‐off and poor mothers, which is then slowly unwound as more advantaged mothers leave welfare at a faster rate. The channels of welfare exit (finding a new partner versus exiting welfare while remaining single) are associated with different characteristics. Family size is an equally important predictor of exit rates as the age of the youngest child.

Date: 2018
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Handle: RePEc:bla:ecorec:v:94:y:2018:i:307:p:405-423