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Assortative mating among unmarried parents: Implications for ability to pay child support

Abstract.

Assortative mating is of interest to both theoretical and applied social scientists. Previous research is based almost entirely on married couples and parents. In this paper we use data from the NSFG to examine assortative mating among unmarried parents in the US and to examine the robustness of estimates of nonresident fathers' income based on assortative mating assumptions. We find that never married parents are similar, though not identical, to married parents in their choice of partners. White unmarried women are much more likely to have a child with a non-white male than white married women. On the other hand, unmarried women are more likely than married women to have a child with a more educated male.

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Received: 31 May 2000/Accepted: 2 January 2001

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Garfinkel, I., Glei, D. & McLanahan, S. Assortative mating among unmarried parents: Implications for ability to pay child support. J Popul Econ 15, 417–432 (2002). https://doi.org/10.1007/s001480100100

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s001480100100

  • JEL classifications: H
  • I
  • J
  • Key words: Assortative mating
  • unmarried parents
  • child support