Social Service Review
The effect of fathers' incarceration on the well-being of children is an important concern, especially in the United States, a nation with uniquely high incarceration rates as well as a relatively weak and shrinking safety net. This study uses matched, longitudinal, administrative data from Wisconsin to estimate the effects of paternal imprisonment on child support and food stamp receipt by families with nonmarital children. The results illustrate the complex interactions among public policies. Paternal imprisonment reduces child support receipt and thereby undermines policies designed to improve child support collection. At the same time, increases in food stamp benefits fill a portion of the resulting income gap, providing a safety net for families but increasing welfare expenditures. (Author abstract)
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