Georgia Researchers Study “Deadbeat Dads”

19 August 2014

"Deadbeat Dads" or absent fathers who don't pay child support are an important contributing factor to child poverty rates. New research from the University of Georgia and Boston College helps explain why. A team of economic researchers analyzed data on families across a 14-year period in an effort to understand why some single women had children outside of marriage when they received little to no support from fathers and why that behavior is especially common among African Americans.
The authors created an economic model to simulate a scenario in which every absent father was forced to pay child support. Looking at the data through the lens of this "perfect enforcement" scenario caused the picture to change. Researchers found the number of births outside marriage declined.
They also found that when black men earned as much money as similar white men, the accompanying changes in behavior greatly reduce child poverty.
Researchers found the earnings gap influenced marriage rates and they say it may lead directly to non-payment of child support.
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