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Marriage, Divorce, and Social Safety Net Policy

Elliott Isaac

Southern Economic Journal, 2020, vol. 86, issue 4, 1576-1612

Abstract: I study the effects of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and welfare reforms of the 1990s on flows into and out of marriage. I use test scores to predict who is most likely to be affected by the policy changes, and employ a flexible functional form to estimate heterogeneous effects. I find that lower‐earning married women are more likely to divorce as the EITC expands, but I find no effect of EITC generosity on marriage. I find little effect of welfare generosity on marriage or divorce flows for any group. My results suggest that there are nonsymmetric responses to policy on flows into and out of marriages.

Date: 2020
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Handle: RePEc:wly:soecon:v:86:y:2020:i:4:p:1576-1612