Advertisement

Demography

, Volume 35, Issue 2, pp 159–173 | Cite as

The impact of child support on cognitive outcomes of young children

  • Laura M. ArgysEmail author
  • H. Elizabeth Peters
  • Jeanne Brooks-Gunn
  • Judith R. Smith
Men’s involvement in parenting in the united states

Abstract

We use the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth-Child data to address three questions. First, does the receipt of child support have beneficial effects for children with absent fathers apart from increasing income? Second, do the effects of child support differ when child-support awards and payments are made cooperatively as opposed to being court ordered? Third, are any positive effects of child support solely a product of unmeasured differences among fathers and families? Controlling for the socioeconomic characteristics of the child and family, we find some evidence that receipt of child support has a positive impact on children’s cognitive test scores over and above its contribution to total income. However, the effects vary by test, by race, and by reason for Father’s absence. Our results also indicate that the distinction between cooperative and noncooperative awards is important. Finally, our instrumental variables estimates show that the effects of child support persist after we control for unobserved characteristics of fathers and families.

Keywords

Child Support National Longitudinal Survey Absent Father Black Mother Welfare Receipt 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Argys, L.M. and H.E. Peters, 1996. “Can Adequate Child Support Be Legislated?: A Theoretical Model of Responses to Child Support Guidelines and Enforcement Efforts.” Mimeographed document, Department of Policy Analysis and Management, Cornell University.Google Scholar
  2. Baker, P., C.K. Keck, F.L. Mott, and S.V. Quinlan 1993. NLSY Child Handbook, Revised Edition: A Guide to the 1986–90 National Longitudinal Survey of Youth Child Data. Columbus, OH: Center for Human Resource Research.Google Scholar
  3. Baker, P. and F. Mott 1989. NLSY Handbook 1989: A Guide and Resource Document for the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1986 Child Data. Columbus, OH: Center for Human Resource Research, Ohio State University.Google Scholar
  4. Baydar, N. and J. Brooks-Gunn. 1994. “The Dynamics of Child Support and Its Consequences for Children.” Pp. 257–79 in Child Support and Child Well-Being, edited by I. Garfinkel, S. McLanahan, and P.K. Robins. Washington, DC: The Urban Institute Press.Google Scholar
  5. Becker, G.S. 1991. A Treatise on the Family. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  6. Bradley, R.H., L. Whiteside, D.J. Mundfrom, and B. BlevinsKnabe. 1995. “Home Environment and Adaptive Social Behavior Among Premature, Low Birth Weight Children: Alternative Models of Environmental Action.” Journal of Pediatric Psychology 20:347–62.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Brooks-Gunn, J., G. Guo, and F.F. Furstenberg. 1993. “Who Drops Out of and Who Continues Beyond High School?: A 20-Year Study of Black Youth.” Journal of Research in Adolescence 33:271–94.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Brooks-Gunn, J., P.K. Klebanov, and G. Duncan. 1996. “Ethnic Differences in Children’s Intelligence Test Scores: Role of Economic Deprivation, Home Environment, and Maternal Characteristics.” Child Development 67:396–408.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Bumpass, L.L., R.K. Raley, and J.A. Sweet. 1995. “The Changing Character of Stepfamilies: Implications of Cohabitation and Nonmarital Childbearing.” Demography 32:425–36.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Chase-Lansdale, P.L., F.L. Mott, J. Brooks-Gunn, and D. Phillips. 1991. “Children of the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth: A Unique Research Opportunity.” Developmental Psychology 27:918–31.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Children Today. 1997. “An Interview with David Gray Ross.” Vol. 24, No.2, DHHS Publication No. (ACF)97-30014.Google Scholar
  12. Conger, R.D., X. Ge, G.H. Elder, and F. Lorenz. 1994. “Economic Stress, Coercive Family Process, and Developmental Problems of Adolescents.” Child Development 65:541–61.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Conger, R.D., G.T. Harold, and L.N. Osborne. 1997. “Mom and Dad Are at it Again: Adolescent Perceptions of Marital Conflict and Adolescent Psychological Distress.” Developmental Psychology 33:333–50.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Conger, R.D., F.O. Lorenz, G.H. Elder, and R.L. Simons. 1993. “Husband and Wife Differences in Response to Undesirable Life Events.” Journal of Health and Social Behavior 34:71–88.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Currie, J.M. 1995. Welfare and the Well-Being of Children: The Relative Effectiveness of Cash and In-Kind Transfers. Cambridge, MA: National Bureau of Economic Research.Google Scholar
  16. Del Boca, D. and C.J. Flinn. 1994. “Expenditure Decisions of Divorced Mothers and Income Composition.” Journal of Human Resources 29:742–61.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Dunn, L.M. and L.M. Dunn. 1981. Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test: Revised Manual. Circle Pines, MN: American Guidance Service, Inc.Google Scholar
  18. Dunn, L.M. and F.C. Markwardt, Jr. 1970. Peabody Individual Achievement Test Manual. Circle Pines, MN: American Guidance Service.Google Scholar
  19. Elder, G.H., Jr. 1974. Children of the Great Depression: Social Change in Life Experience. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  20. Furstenberg, F.F. and K.M. Harris. 1993. “When and Why Fathers Matter: Impacts of Father Involvement on Children of Adolescent Mothers.” Pp. 117–38 in Young Unwed Fathers: Changing Roles and Emerging Policies, edited by R.I. Lerman and T.J. Ooms. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.Google Scholar
  21. Furstenberg, F.F., S.P. Morgan, and P.D. Allison. 1987. “Paternal Participation and Children’s Well-Being After Marital Dissolution.” American Sociological Review 52:695–701.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Graham, J.W., A.H. Beller, and P. Hernandez. 1994. “The Relationship Between Child Support Payments and Offspring Educational Attainment.” Child Support and Child Well-Being, edited by I. Garfinkel, S.S. McLanahan, and P.K. Robins. Washington, DC: The Urban Institute Press.Google Scholar
  23. Haveman, R.H. and B. Wolfe. 1995. “The Determinants of Children’s Attainments: A Review of Methods and Findings.” The Journal of Economic Literature 33: 1829–78.Google Scholar
  24. Hawkins, A.J. and D.J. Eggebeen. 1991. “Are Fathers Fungible? Patterns of Coresident Adult Men in Maritally Disrupted Families and Young Children’s Well-Being.” Journal of Marriage and the Family 53:958–72.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. King, V. 1994. “Nonresident Father Involvement and Child Well-Being: Can Dads Make a Difference?” Journal of Family Issues 15:78–96.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Knox, V.W. 1996. “The Effects of Child Support Payments on Developmental Outcomes for Elementary School-Age,Children.” The Journal of Human Resources 31:816–40.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Knox, V.W. and M.J. Bane. 1994. “Child Support and Schooling.” Pp. 285–310 in Child Support and Child Well-Being, edited by I. Garfinkel, S. McLanahan, and P.K. Robins. Washington, DC: The Urban Institute Press.Google Scholar
  28. Lamb, M.E., J. Pleck, E.L. Charnov, and J.A. Levine, 1987. “A Biosocial Perspective on Paternal Behavior and Involvement.” Pp. 111–42 in Parenting Across the Life Span: Biosocial Dimensions, edited by J.B. Lancaster, J. Altman, A. Rossi, and L.R. Sherrod. New York: Aldine de Gruyter.Google Scholar
  29. Lazear, E.P. and R.T. Michael. 1988. Allocation of Income Within the Household. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  30. McLanahan, S.S., J.A. Seltzer, T.L. Hanson, and E. Thomson. 1994. “Child Support Enforcement and Child Well-Being: Greater Security or Greater Conflict?” Pp. 239–54 in Child Support and Child Well-Being, edited by I. Garfinkel, S. McLanahan, and P.K. Robins. Washington, DC: The Urban Institute Press.Google Scholar
  31. MeLoyd, V.C., T.E. Jayaratne, R. Ceballo, and J. Borquez. 1994. “Unemployment and Work Interruption Among African American Single Mothers: Effects on Parenting and Adolescent Socioemotional Functioning.” Child Development 65:562–89.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Mott, F.L. 1990. “When is a Father Really Gone? Paternal-Child Contact in Father-Absent Homes.” Demography 27:499–517.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Peters, R.E., L.M. Argys, E.E. Maccoby, and R.H. Mnookin. 1993. “Enforcing Divorce Settlements: Evidence From Child Support Compliance and Award Modifications.” Demography 30:719–35.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Peters, H.E. and N. Mullis. 1997. “The Role of Family Income and Sources of Income in Adolescent Achievement.” Pp. 340–82 in Consequences of Growing Up Poor, edited by G.J. Duncan and J. Brooks-Gunn. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.Google Scholar
  35. Seltzer, J.A., N.C. Schaeffer, and H. Charng. 1989. “Family Ties After Divorce: The Relationship Between Visiting and Paying Child Support.” Journal of Marriage and the Family 51:1013–31.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Smith, J.R., J. Brooks-Gunn, and P.K. Klebanov. 1997. “Consequences of Living in Poverty for Young Children’s Cognitive and Verbal Ability and Early School Achievement.” Pp. 132–90 in Consequences of Growing Up Poor, edited by G.J. Duncan and J. Brooks-Gunn. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.Google Scholar
  37. Venohr, J.C. 1997. “The Economics of Mediation and the Allocation of the Child’s Time Between Divorced Parents.” Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Department of Economics, University of Colorado.Google Scholar
  38. Wachs, T.D. and G.E. Gruen. 1982. Early Experience and Human Development. New York: Plenum Press.Google Scholar
  39. Weinberg, R.A. 1989. “Intelligence and IQ: Landmark Issues and Great Debates.” American Psychologist 44:98–104.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Weiss, Y. and R.J. Willis. 1985. “Children as Collective Goods in Divorce Settlements.” Journal of Labor Economics 3:268–92.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Population Association of America 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Laura M. Argys
    • 1
    Email author
  • H. Elizabeth Peters
    • 2
  • Jeanne Brooks-Gunn
    • 3
  • Judith R. Smith
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of EconomicsUniversity of Colorado-DenverDenver
  2. 2.Department of Policy Analysis and ManagementCornell UniversityUSA
  3. 3.Center for the Study of Children and Families, Teachers CollegeColumbia UniversityColumbiaUSA
  4. 4.Graduate School of Social Services, Fordham University and Center for the Study of Children and Families, Teachers CollegeColumbia UniversityColumbiaUSA

Personalised recommendations