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Title: Child Outcomes as Signals and the Receipt of Child Support
Resulting in 1 citation.
1. Aughinbaugh, Alison Aileen
Child Outcomes as Signals and the Receipt of Child Support
Ph.D. Dissertation, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1998
Cohort(s): Children of the NLSY79
Publisher: UMI - University Microfilms, Bell and Howell Information and Learning
Keyword(s): Child Support; Educational Attainment; Endogeneity; Family Structure; Family Studies; Fertility; Heterogeneity; Parents, Non-Custodial; Peabody Individual Achievement Test (PIAT- Math); Peabody Individual Achievement Test (PIAT- Reading); Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test (PPVT)

Children from nonintact families achieve educational outcomes that are significantly lower than children from intact families. Empirical evidence suggests that the receipt of child support makes up for over half of this educational disadvantage. Moreover, previous work estimates that child support has benefits for the children that receive it that is several times greater than that of other dollars. This result would arise if (1) unobserved factors such as the noncustodian's altruism toward the child or the level of conflict between the parents are correlated with both the child support and child achievement outcomes or (2) noncustodial parents use child support strategically to influence custodians to invest more heavily in the children. This study considers both possibilities. Using data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY), this study evaluates the impact of child achievement on child support payments. The empirical model accounts for the endogeneity of family structure, fertility, measurement error in child achievement, and the quality of the information the noncustodian has about the child through a semiparametric, maximum likelihood framework. A discrete factor specification of unobserved heterogeneity links the child outcomes, the propensity that a woman and her child are eligible to receive child support, and the amount of child support received. The empirical results provide strong evidence that child achievement has a positive effect on both the receipt and amount of child support. This result is robust across various specifications and actually increases substantially with the inclusion of controls for the endogeneity of family structure and for the endogeneity and measurement error associated with the proxies for child achievement. This is the relationship predicted by a principal-agent model in which the noncustodial parent is unable to observe the resources devoted to the child by the custodian, but does observe a signal of those resources. The findings of this study improves our understanding of the links between child support and child achievement. It points out some low-cost policies that could increase the well-being of children in nonintact families. Consider, for example, a change in school policies to send report cards to noncustodial as well as custodial parents. This provides the noncustodian with more accurate information regarding the child's achievement. If the custodial parent recognizes that it is now easier for the noncustodian to monitor the resources devoted to the child, this policy may lead to increased investments in the child.
Bibliography Citation
Aughinbaugh, Alison Aileen. Child Outcomes as Signals and the Receipt of Child Support. Ph.D. Dissertation, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1998.