Journal of Economic Perspectives: Vol. 7 No. 1 (Winter 1993)


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Policy Watch: Child Support Policies

Article Citation

Lerman, Robert I. 1993. "Policy Watch: Child Support Policies." Journal of Economic Perspectives, 7(1): 171-182.

DOI: 10.1257/jep.7.1.171


With more parents living apart, the societal problem of parents who fail to share with each other or with their children becomes more acute. Although governments have mainly relied on public transfers to address the resulting economic hardships among children, the emphasis has been shifting toward mandatory sharing through the rigorous enforcement of child support laws. This paper first describes the economic context for child support; the expanding federal role in regulating awards and collections; the complex array of incentive and equity effects associated with child support; the record of obtaining support payments from noncustodial parents; and the effects of new award-setting and enforcement policies. Finally, it considers the child support assurance system (CSAS) approach, recently proposed in Congress. Under this plan, the government would make up the difference between some minimum assured payment and the child support actually paid by the non-custodial parent.

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Lerman, Robert I. (American U)

JEL Classifications

J18: Demographic Economics: Public Policy
J13: Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth


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