Fathers’ Financial Contributions across Households

Maria Cancian, University of Wisconsin at Madison
Daniel Meyer, University of Wisconsin at Madison

Understanding the resources available to children is complex when biological parents are not sharing a household and when the mother has children with multiple fathers. Using data on Wisconsin welfare families, we examine mothers’ reports of the support provided by nonresident fathers for his own children as well as for other children co-residing with his children. We analyze changes over time in his contributions, comparing fathers whose previous partners have had subsequent births with another man and those whose partners have not. About half the mothers in the first wave have children by multiple fathers in the first wave; more than one in five mothers had a child with a new father between the baseline and the third wave of the survey. Using a difference-in-difference approach, we control for time-invariant unobserved heterogeneity. We compare these estimates with estimates derived from cross-sectional analysis.

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Presented in Session 36: Parents, Children and Sibling Linkages across Households