Child support and father-child contact: Testing reciprocal pathways

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Abstract

I use three waves of panel data to examine the relationship between child support payments and father's contact with their nonmarital children. I disaggregate support into fathers'formal and informal payments and incorporate cross-lagged effects models to identify the direction of causality between payments and contact. After including the behavior from the prior wave (lagged term) and a rich set of family characteristics, I find a marginally significant effect of paying formally at Time 1 on the likelihood of contact at Time 2 but no effect of contact at Time 1 on formal payments at Time 2. In the first examination of the relationship between informal support and father-child contact, I find a strong, positive reciprocal relationship between the likelihood and frequency of father-child contact and the likelihood and amount of informal support, with slightly stronger and more consistent effects of contact on payments than of payments on contact.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)93-112
Number of pages20
JournalDemography
Volume44
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2007
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Demography

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