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Unwed Fathers’ Ability to Pay Child Support: Evidence from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study Marilyn Sinkewicz Columbia University Irwin Garfinkel.

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Presentation on theme: "Unwed Fathers’ Ability to Pay Child Support: Evidence from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study Marilyn Sinkewicz Columbia University Irwin Garfinkel."— Presentation transcript:

1 Unwed Fathers’ Ability to Pay Child Support: Evidence from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study Marilyn Sinkewicz Columbia University Irwin Garfinkel Columbia University July 1, 2004

2 Funders The Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study is funded through grants from the following government agencies: 5R01-HD from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, 5P30-HD from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development through the Office of Population Research, Princeton University, U. S. Department of Health and Human Services (ACF and ASPE) Funding is also provided by the following foundations: California HealthCare Foundation, The Center for Research on Religion and Urban Civil Society at the University of Pennsylvania, Commonwealth Fund, Ford Foundation, Foundation for Child Development, Fund for New Jersey, William T. Grant Foundation, Healthcare Foundation of New Jersey, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, Hogg Foundation, Christian A. Johnson Endeavor Foundation, Kronkosky Charitable Foundation, Leon Lowenstein Foundation, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, A.L. Mailman Family Foundation, Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, National Science Foundation, David and Lucile Packard Foundation, Public Policy Institute of California, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, St. David's Hospital Foundation, St. Vincent Hospital and Health Services.

3 New estimates of nonresident unwed fathers’ capacity to pay child support Motivation Child support enforcement affects large proportion of population Enforcement has been strengthened, especially for poor and unwed fathers Data for estimating unwed father’s income has been very poor Fragile Families data addresses previous weaknesses

4 Weaknesses of Previous Data Missing Dads—40% in NSFH, SIPP, lower in longitudinal, but higher for unweds Requires Starting with Moms & Kids and Assuming Assortative Mating, One Dad for Each Mom & No other obligations Unwed dads like all unwed men

5 Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study Sample mother birth…...…………………. 3,710 mother 1 year…………………….. 1,805 not interviewed at 1 yr & birth.… 2,024 child not adopted……………………………….…. 2,011 child not deceased……………………………….… 1,993 father eligible (not deceased, negative DNA, unknown, not told, denies paternity )... 1,797 father reports earnings…………………………

6 Estimate fathers’ ability to pay 1.Income (personal earnings) 2.Multiple Partner Fertility Number of children with current mother and prior mothers

7

8 MISSING DATA PROBLEM EVER INCARCERATED ESTIMATION SAMPLE FULL SAMPLE COEFFICIENT YES3538-$2548 NO5644 MISSING 9 18-$ 601 CURRENTLY INCARCERATED ESTIMATION SAMPLE FULL SAMPLE COEFFICIENT YES 5 8-$5885 NO8467 MISSING1125+$ 847

9 Wisconsin Child Support Guidelines Percentage of Annual Earnings 1 child17% 2 children25% 3 children29% 4 children31% 5+ children34%

10 SimulationEarnings Estimation ModelChild Support Obligation 1Assortative Mating AssumptionsCurrent 2Actual DemographicsCurrent 3Ineligible Fathers set to zeroCurrent 4Previously Unobserved Characteristics Current 5Previously Unobserved Characteristics First Prior, then Current 6Previously Unobserved Characteristics Prior plus Current & then Split Equally

11 Annual Child Support Payment per Nonresident Father Assortative Mating ActualIneligiblePrev UnobsPrior, then Current Current plus prior Earnings

12 Summary 1.Assortative mating assumption ok 2.Identifying ineligible fathers reduces ability to pay by 11% 3.Previously unmeasured capabilities of dads reduces ability to pay by only 3% 4.Multiple partner fertility reduces ability to pay by 14% to 29% 5.All together—25% to 38% lower


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