Journal of Population Economics

, Volume 22, Issue 3, pp 641–663

The impact of changes in child support policy

Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s00148-008-0199-2

Cite this article as:
Neelakantan, U. J Popul Econ (2009) 22: 641. doi:10.1007/s00148-008-0199-2


This paper measures the impact of child support reforms on payments to divorced mothers and welfare participation rates among them. A Stackelberg model of divorced parents’ behavior is calibrated to data from Wisconsin, where child support payments increased from $2,175.35 to $3,431.77 and welfare participation rates decreased from 33.5% to 9% between 1981 and 1992. Results show that new guidelines accounted for 24.4% and improved enforcement for 74% of the increase in payments. Higher payments accounted for a 3.9-percentage-point decline, decreasing welfare benefits an 8.4-percentage-point decline, and the two combined a 15-percentage-point decline in the welfare participation rate.


Child support Welfare Children 

JEL Classification

J12 J13 I38 

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Agricultural and Consumer EconomicsUniversity of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignUrbanaUSA

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